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Understanding Your Home Appraisal

Whether you’re buying or selling a home, understanding the role of an appraisal in the home buying process is important.  An appraisal can have a significant impact on your real estate transaction, so here are some common questions about the process:

What is a property appraisal?

A property appraisal is a professional assessment of a home’s value conducted by a licensed appraiser.

What does an appraiser do?

An appraiser evaluates a home’s value by considering various factors such as the home’s features and location, current housing market conditions, and comparison to the sale of similar homes in the area.

How do appraisers provide an unbiased assessment of a home’s value?

An appraiser is a licensed, independent service provider who has no affiliation with a home’s buyer or seller.  Appraisers are paid a flat fee for their service rather than a commission so they are unprejudiced when determining a home’s fair market value.  There are also federal laws that require the appraiser to be unbiased in the performance of the appraisal. 

When does an appraisal take place?

Once a buyer and seller both sign a purchase agreement for a home, the buyer can complete their loan application and continue with the home financing process.  During that time, the buyer’s mortgage lender will order the home’s appraisal.  An appraiser is assigned to assess the home’s value and will submit an appraisal report back to the lender once the appraisal is complete.

What if the appraisal of a home’s value is lower than expected?

If a home’s value is determined to be different than the contract price, and the buyer feels that the estimate is inaccurate, then the buyer may authorize an appraisal reconsideration process.  The buyer, real estate agent or lender may ask an appraiser to:

  • consider additional, appropriate property information,
  • provide further detail, substantiation or explanation for the appraiser’s value conclusion, and/or
  • correct any errors within the appraisal report.

What can be included in the appraisal reconsideration?

To reexamine a home’s value, appraisers may consider:

  • a list of major home improvements or upgrades completed after the original appraisal, such as renovations, landscaping, or replacement of major systems or utilities.
  • a copy of the plat or site plan showing unique or contextual characteristics such as a lot’s size compared to those around it, a desirable view, or even a quiet property away from busy areas.
  • overlooked sales and listings that were used to help determine the home’s price.
  • elements of the appraisal’s comparable properties that were reported incorrectly.
  • the home’s specific circumstances, such as multiple offers, special concessions, or repairs outlined in the contract that would raise the home’s value.

More questions about property appraisals?

Your mortgage consultant will be happy to speak with you directly to help make sure you understand the entire process.





This list is only to be used as a guide and is not all-inclusive.

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