Home appraisals are done by an appraiser to help set a value of your home. Lenders use an appraisal to make sure they’re not lending a borrower more than the value of the home and that your buyers haven’t paid you more than your home is worth.
Appraisers look at issues such as:
- The size of your home including number of rooms.
- Your property’s size including the potential for expansion.
- The quality and condition of materials used in your home’s construction.
- Your home’s condition, including interior finishes like floors and plumbing fixtures, as well as exterior items, such as siding, foundation, roof, fences and decks.
- Indoor and outdoor amenities, such as air conditioning, fireplaces, decks or pools.
- Upgrades you’ve made to the kitchen or bathrooms.
To set your home’s value, the appraiser will compare your home to similar, recently sold homes in the area.
Some loan programs also require the appraiser to certify that your home meets minimum safety, structural and sanitary conditions.
Home inspections are a thorough evaluation of your home’s condition. The inspector looks for major and minor issues with your home’s electrical, plumbing and HVAC systems, floors, windows, doors, roof, attic, foundation and more.
The inspector then writes a detailed report explaining your home’s condition so your homebuyers knows about any needed repairs or replacements, as well as safety and maintenance issues.
Buyers aren’t required to get a home inspection, but most people opt to pay for one. In these cases, they’ll include an inspection contingency, which outlines what happens after the inspection.
In a seller’s market, buyers may decide to complete a home inspection before they put in an offer, or decide to forgo the inspection to make their offer more competitive.
When the offer you accept has an inspection contingency, based on what’s in the inspection report, your buyers can usually:
- Ask you to make repairs.
- Ask you to subtract the cost of needed repairs and upgrades from your home’s sale price.
- Ask you to give them (at settlement) cash to make the repairs.
- Accept your home as-is.
You then respond to the buyers’ request. In the worst case scenario, if you refuse to make repairs, the buyers may have the option to walk away from the deal.
When we go over the offers from buyers, I’ll walk you through all the contingencies, including the home inspection contingency. We can also discuss the pros and cons of paying for a home inspection of your own home before you put it up for sale.