Home Buying
October 25, 2021

The Home Appraisal Process: What Home Buyers Need to Know

Getting a home appraisal is just one of the many steps involved in refinancing a home. At Neat, we’re here to help clean up the refinancing process. So, we’ve got answers to your top questions about home appraisal – from what appraisal is to how much it costs – we’re here to help!

What is a home appraisal?

A home appraisal is a measure of how much a property is worth. It is a licensed appraiser’s expert opinion on the property’s current market value. The appraisal helps the lender determine whether the home’s sale price is fair.

What is a home appraisal based on?

During a home appraisal, a licensed appraiser will use several factors to assess the fair market value of the home. The appraiser will use “comps” (information on sales of comparable homes nearby) as well as the current real estate market. They will also analyze the property itself and evaluate its worth based on location, age, construction, square footage, and other features. Finally, they will draw on their training, expertise, and experience to formulate an independent, informed opinion on the property’s value.

What does the appraiser look for during a home appraisal?

The appraiser will walk through the home and property and look for features to help determine its value. They will assess the home based on its location, square footage, age, construction, style, number of bedrooms and bathrooms, and garage and storage space. They will also consider flooring, lighting, doors, windows, roof, plumbing, and foundation. They will consider the home’s amenities including fireplace, security system, irrigation, landscaping, pool, appliances, finished basement, etc.

How long will a home appraisal take?

The walk-through portion of the home appraisal process doesn’t take very long–only a couple of hours at most. The appraiser will take photos of the home and property and will then use the images to conduct further research and generate a home appraisal report. The entire process takes a few days.

Who pays for a home appraisal?

The homebuyer (the borrower) pays for the home appraisal. That’s because it’s part of ensuring the mortgage lender that the collateral (the property) is appropriately valued. In the case that the borrower defaults on the loan, the lender has more assurance that their risk of making the loan for a determined amount is covered by the value of the home.

How much does a home appraisal cost?

The cost for an appraisal depends on the type of transaction and the type of property. It can be paid at the time of appraisal or at closing. In some cases, it can be rolled into the loan or paid by the seller.

Get a mortgage without the mess.

When you’re shopping around for mortgages, it’s wise to partner with a lender who is dedicated to a transparent and simplified home buying process. At Neat Loans, we’ve cleaned up the home financing process so you can get a mortgage without the mess. Get pre-approved in 3 minutes with Neat.

Phillip McSween

Manager, Mortgage Origination - NMLS #2104845
Phillip McSween manages Neat's team of home loan advisors. As a champion of a client's needs and financial goals, he values speed, transparency, and certainty throughout the entire home financing process.