The Appraisal Procedure
When buying or selling a home the appraisal process is a crucial step that is often over looked. Many lenders and mortgage backers such as the Federal Housing Administration (FHA) or Veterans Affairs (VA) will require a home appraisal executed by a third party professional. However, in instances where it is not required many buyers tend to waive that right. Doing so can turn your potential dream home into a nightmare and possible money pit. For sellers, a property appraisal is an important first step to determining the value your home as well as the listing price.
Home Inspection Checklist
The most common type of home inspections is a general or residential inspection, which examines the electrical wiring, plumbing, roofing, insulation and the structure of the home. Other common home inspections examine home infestations ranging from pests to fungal bacteria. Most general home inspectors will perform these more in-depth tests for an additional cost.
Things a general home inspector looks for:
- Size – Square footage of the home and dimensions.
- Bedrooms and bathrooms – How many in the house?
- Porch, deck or patio – Does the house have one or all of them?
- Appliance condition – The appraiser also documents the condition of all appliances and major systems in the house (Note: only built-in appliances are documented, i.e. an air conditioner or garbage disposal. Because appliances like a washer and dryer, or refrigerator are often taken by the pervious homeowner so they often are not a part of the appraisal.)
- Pool? However fun and beautiful that in-ground pool and sundeck may seem to you, in most markets pools do not add value to a home. Considering the cost of labor and upkeep they can sometimes lower the home’s value; not all buyers want the extra home maintenance.
- Major damage – Foundation or roof issues could affect the home value.
- Location – An appraiser will also take notes about the location, including what kind of neighborhood/community, crime, graffiti, etc.
An appraiser will compare your house to:
- Other similar houses in the area – Similar style, age, size and number of bedrooms and bathrooms (listed in the last 3-6 months).
- Local county data – What is generally believed about the neighborhood?
- Crime statistics - Is the neighborhood safe?
Your home inspection will give you peace of mind that the home you chose is in good shape. It can also become a negotiation tool in closing, and could inform you of potential future maintenance and upkeep. Skipping this step is rarely worth the risk. For recommendations about appraisers in your area Meet an Agent; is a place to find an expert in your neighborhood today. Or, use the Meeting Place to ask a question about your area.