- An appraisal is an unbiased professional opinion of the value of a home and is used whenever a mortgage is involved in the buying, refinancing, or selling of that property.
- A qualified appraiser creates a report based on a visual inspection, using recent sales of similar properties, current market trends, and aspects of the home (e.g., amenities, floor plan, square footage) to determine the property’s appraisal value.
- The borrower usually pays the appraisal fee, which can be several hundred dollars.
- When the appraisal value is lower than expected, the transaction can be delayed or even canceled.
Whether you’re buying a home using a mortgage, refinancing your existing mortgage, or selling your home to anyone other than an all-cash buyer, a home appraisal is a key component of the transaction. If you’re a buyer, owner, or seller, you’ll want to understand how the appraisal process works and how an appraiser determines a home’s value.
What Is a Home Appraisal?
An appraisal is an unbiased professional opinion of a home’s value. Appraisals are almost always used in purchase-and-sale transactions and commonly used in refinance transactions. In a purchase-and-sale transaction, an appraisal is used to determine whether the home’s contract price is appropriate given the home’s condition, location, and features. In a refinance transaction, an appraisal assures the lender that it isn’t handing the borrower more money than the home is worth.