What is a Home Appraisal?

Home Appraisal


Summary: Appraisals are important to buyers, sellers, and lenders to ensure homes are priced fairly and borrowers are given the fair market value of their home. The condition of your home, home upgrades, and any recent closings within your neighborhood are all crucial factors in determining your home value.

What is an appraisal? An appraisal accurately assesses the value of your home to reflect its market-value worth. They are done by a third-party, not your mortgage lender, to make sure there is no bias and the value of your home comes back accurate. Appraisals are important to buyers, sellers, and lenders to ensure homes are priced fairly and borrowers are given a fair market value of their home.

There are many benefits to an appraisal whether you are purchasing or refinancing. When you buy a house, an appraisal confirms the listed price of the home and ensures your loan amount is accurate and fair. If the home value comes back as less than the listed price, you can negotiate and potentially lower the price of the home. When refinancing, an appraisal reveals your equity; knowing your equity can help to lower or remove additional costs like PMI (Private Mortgage Insurance). You can request your refinance lenders to remove your PMI if your equity is larger than 20%. Knowing your equity during refinancing also allows you to take cash out with a cash-out refinance!

A few factors come into play when evaluating your home’s worth. The condition of your home, any upgrades you may have made, and any recent closings within your neighborhood are all crucial factors in determining your home value. If you are present while your appraiser stops by, giving a list or informing them of your upgrades can help in determining the value of your home.

Types of Appraisals
Appraisal varies depending on the homeowner. In addition to the traditional appraiser coming in and elevating homes, here are three other types of appraisals that were done in light of covid-19 that may stick around.

Hybrid Appraisal Appraisers can use third-party information to give home values without physically visiting the home.
Desktop Appraisal Appraiser using information online to gather the value of the home. Such information can be property records, floor plans, or any other public information.
Drive-By Appraisal Appraisers may drive by the home and give it a value based on the property’s exterior.


An appraisal is very different from an inspection. A home inspection is detailed and in-depth. Inspectors will come in and investigate your home for problems such as a loose pipe, cracked walls, or broken outlets. An appraiser, on the other hand, only focuses on visual defects within the home. If they find any visual defects, they will not investigate it but simply take note. Appraisers will not search or investigate problems; they are there to evaluate the house and give it a value.

Appraisal Waivers
There are situations when you may not need an appraisal. Your mortgage lender will inform you if you qualify for an appraisal waiver. Appraisal waivers bring many opportunities and a quicker closing date for applicants. With an appraisal waiver, applicants can save time and money by not having to schedule and pay for one. The waiver also speeds up the process, as the lender does not have to wait for your appraisal results and can move you forward in your process!

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