What Homeowners Need to Know About Home Appraisals
February 15, 2022
February 15, 2022
Whether you are planning to sell your home or refinance, getting your home appraised is an important part of the process. With an understanding of what an appraiser will look for, how you can prepare, and what to expect during and after the appraisal, you can feel confident about navigating the appraisal process.
An appraisal is an opinion of the market value of your home, and it’s performed by a third-party professional with state-issued appraiser credentials. The main purpose of an appraisal is to help the lender evaluate the collateral for a loan, which is your home.
If you’re selling your home, the homebuyer's lender is responsible for ordering the appraisal, and the homebuyer will likely be required to reimburse the lender for the cost.
If you’re refinancing your home, your lender is responsible for ordering the appraisal, and you will likely be required to reimburse the lender for the cost, typically as part of your closing costs.
Here are some things you can do to prepare your home before the appraiser’s visit:
To determine the market value of your home, the appraisal considers multiple factors that are outside of your control, including the home’s location and the total lot size, as well as comparable properties within the area and market conditions.
Other aspects the appraiser will look at to assess your home’s value are based on what they see during an on-site home inspection. Many of these factors are within your control. Here’s an example of what appraisers typically look at during a home appraisal visit:
Consider giving the appraiser a one-page bulleted list of the improvements you’ve made to your home, along with the dates you completed them. This will help the appraiser keep an eye out for these items when inspecting the property.
Here are some other tips to help the appraisal visit go smoothly:
After the appraisal visit, the appraiser will analyze information from the visit and develop the value opinion. About one to two weeks after the property inspection — or possibly longer in areas with high appraisal activity — the appraiser will provide a report to the lender that shares this analysis and the home valuation.
If you’re refinancing, in most cases, the lender is required to provide a copy of the report to you.
If you’re selling your home, you typically won’t receive a copy of the appraisal report, but you can ask the homebuyer to share it. The homebuyer may be reluctant to share it with you, however, especially if the home is appraised for more than your sales price. Conversely, if the home is appraised below your sales price, the homebuyer will likely share the report and try to negotiate a lower sales price.
If you have questions about the results of the appraisal process, or think there are errors in the appraisal report, talk to the lender. Appraisers cannot discuss the results of the appraisal process with anyone other than the lender.
To learn more about the selling process, including what to do if your home is appraised below your sales price, visit My Home by Freddie Mac®.