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Home Inspection vs Appraisal

Difference Between Home Appraisal and Inspection

People often confuse home appraisals with home inspections, and even some unseasoned real estate brokers can confuse the two roles these two very different individuals are responsible for.

Even the education and training for these two different roles are completely unrelated.

What exactly does a home appraiser do?

An appraisal is a valuation done for a bank that protects the bank’s investment—your new home. 

It is an inspection done by a certified home appraiser in your state, who is also approved by your lending institution. He or she works for the bank to ensure that the price agreed upon between buyer and seller is worth the property’s value.

They typically look at the overall condition of the property, including the kitchen and baths. They do an analysis based on “comparables,” which are similar properties within the same neighborhood that had previously sold 6-12 months. 

What do home appraisers look for?

Here are some of the items home appraisers compare but are not limited to: 

  • Interior square footage 
  • lot square footage 
  • views 
  • quality of design and construction 
  • number of rooms and bedrooms 
  • number of baths 
  • garage spaces, even 
  • fireplaces 
  • pools
  • finished basements

The features of similar homes or “comparables” that have sold are compared to the subject, and value adjustments are made for the lack of or added features included, then a final value is submitted to the bank to state how much your new home is worth. 

For instance, a pool is worth $20,000, and the “comp” you are comparing it against doesn’t have one. A value adjustment is made.

Appraisals typically cost $400-$500 but will depend on the size and the level of detail involved in the inspection report.

What does a home inspector do?

A home inspector is also licensed by your state but has nothing to do with valuation or math–but structural integrity, electrical services, and wiring, windows, paint, roofing, driveways, gutters, garages, mechanical workings of the home such as appliances, etc.

He or she works for you.

Costs typically vary depending on the square footage of the home. The larger the home, the more expensive the inspection will cost. You can expect the average cost to be anywhere from $400-$600 for a 2,000 square foot home.

Keep in mind that the role of a home inspector is limited to telling you what needs to be remediated, cured or repaired. He or she is not allowed to give you cost repair estimates since it conflicts with their Code of Ethics. 

You will want to make sure that your home inspector is forthcoming about the condition of the house and leave his professional opinions unimpeded. Your investment in your new home relies on it. 

Last thing you want is, to pay for a home that he may have spotted foundational problems with, and you are unable to live in it but have to raze it to the ground and re-build. 

Of course, this is a bit dramatic, but I have witnessed this in a brand-new home. The sale fell through due to foundational damage, and the house sitting on top of it was rendered useless. It had to be re-priced for land value alone.

Other Home Inspections

Termite and Pest can run you about $75-$125. Certain lenders will require this like an FHA lender. They are also state licensed. 

Your home inspector can alert you to rot, infestation or moisture, but you will want to look into someone who specializes in identifying and remediating these issues if he has raised a red flag.

Mold Inspections are about $500 for homes up to 3,000 square feet. Again, your home inspector can alert you to these issues. If there is a problem, this can prove to be a very expensive cost to remediate.

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