Every once in a while, we will be contacted by a home buyer or seller who believes a home inspection and appraisal are the same. While it is true that an inspector and appraiser have the job of evaluating a home, the reasons for that evaluation are different.
Let’s dig into this further, so there is no confusion.
What Home Inspections and Appraisals Have in Common
Both parties are paid, usually by the buyer
Both parties are usually needed to sell a house (inspections can be waived, but lending institutions require an appraisal for a mortgage)
Both visually examine the integrity of a home but from different points of view.
“We provide detailed information about the home’s actual condition,” said Dave Christopher from Integrity Home Evaluation Services.
At a minimum, an inspector looks at the HVAC system, plumbing, electrical, roof, attic, walls, ceilings, doors, windows, and foundation.
They are tasked with identifying potential issues or defects within the home. Those findings are presented in a written report.
Depending on what the inspector finds, the potential buyer can either decide to accept the findings, negotiate with the seller who will pay for what, or completely walk away from the deal. This is why buyers should not skip the home inspection.
A home appraiser will look at the market value someone should pay for your home on an open market. They will look at your neighborhood’s public records and recent home sales to estimate your home value.
Like an inspector, an appraiser looks at the exterior and interior of the property. However, the appraiser is more interested in the construction quality and improvements. They will look at the floor plan design and look into permits for additions or renovations.
An appraiser is concerned with square footage (often will measure themselves), floor plan, amenities, luxury items (i.e., swimming pools, home theaters), location, and curb appeal.
If the home’s value comes in below the agreed price, the buyer has to come up with the cash between the agreed-upon and the appraised value, negotiate a new price, or walk away from the deal.
How Sellers Can Prepare for their Inspection and Appraisal
Consider paying for an inspection three-six months before you list your home. This way, you will have no surprises, and you will have time to repair or replace the items listed in your report.
On the day of the buyer’s inspection, remove all pets and make sure your HVAC unit and water heater are easily accessible.
Replace any burnt-out lights, service the HVAC system, and cut back on any trees or bushes close to your home.
Have any service updates and records prepared in a notebook.
Work on your home’s curb appeal – after all, the yard and exterior of your home are the first things the appraiser will see.
On the day of your appraisal, make sure all rooms are accessible, and your home is neat as a pin. If needed, hire a cleaning service a few days before the appraisal.
Give the appraiser a list of all recent home upgrades and a listing of recent comps.
Why a Home Inspection is Crucial
“Who is looking out for your best interest? An appraisal is nothing more than the financial institution protecting their assets if you default on the loan or so they can sell your loan to someone else. A home inspection is for your financial (and safety) protection. Integrity Home Evaluation is looking out for you,” Dave Christopher stated.
We are NEO’s Premier Home Inspection Service
Whether you do a pre-listing inspection or the buyer pays for one, a thorough inspection puts you ahead of the game. It eliminates the unknown. Why leave anything to chance? It’s easy to schedule your inspection with us!