If you’re planning to buy a home, getting an appraisal and a home inspection are essential steps in the process. While both are similar – and arguably necessary – there are key differences between an appraisal and a home inspection. Here’s the breakdown of each and why they’re both important when buying a home.
Key Differences Between an Appraisal and a Home Inspection
An appraisal is a professional evaluation of the market value of the home you’d like to buy. In most cases, an appraisal is ordered by the lender to confirm or verify the value of the house prior to lending a buyer money for the purchase. It’s also a different step in the process from a home inspection, which assesses the condition of the home before you finalize the transaction.
The National Association of Realtors (NAR) explains:
“A home purchase is typically the largest investment someone will make. Protect yourself by getting your investment appraised! An appraiser will observe the property, analyze the data, and report their findings to their client. For the typical home purchase transaction, the lender usually orders the appraisal to assist in the lender’s decision to provide funds for a mortgage.”
When you apply for a mortgage, an unbiased appraisal (which is required by the lender) is the best way to confirm the value of the home based on the sale price. Regardless of what you’re willing to pay for a house, if you’ll be using a mortgage to fund your purchase, the appraisal will help make sure the bank doesn’t loan you more than what the home is worth.
This is especially critical in today’s market where low inventory has been driving an increase in bidding wars, which can push home prices upward. When sellers are in a strong position like this, they tend to believe they can set whatever price they want for their house under the assumption that competing buyers will be willing to pay more.
However, the lender will only allow the buyer to borrow based on the home’s value. This is what helps keep home prices in check. If there’s ever any confusion or discrepancy between the appraisal and the sale price, your trusted real estate professional will help you navigate any additional negotiations in the buying process.
Here’s the key difference between an appraisal and a home inspection. MSN explains:
“In simplest terms, a home appraisal determines the value of a home, while a home inspection determines the condition of a home.”
The home inspection is a way to determine the home’s current state, safety, and condition before you finalize the sale. If anything is questionable in the inspection process – like the age of the roof, the state of the HVAC system, or just about anything else – you as a buyer have the option to discuss and negotiate any potential issues or repairs with the seller before the transaction is final. Your real estate agent is a crucial expert to help you through this part of the process.
An appraisal and a home inspection are critical steps when buying a home, and you don’t need to manage them by yourself. At CMS Home Inspection, we have years of experience and understand the concerns regarding owning a home in Rhode Island, Massachusetts, and eastern Connecticut.
Our thorough home inspections provide the tools necessary for you to understand the structure behind any potential property, as well as the necessary repairs for you to move forward with your purchase. A quality inspection report can mean the difference between owning your dream home and buying a house that falls short.
Let’s connect today so you have expert guidance to navigate the entire home inspection process!