The seller of that home you are about to purchase no doubt thought long and hard about how much to ask for it. She consulted with her real estate agent who spent some time poring over statistics and the prices of recently sold homes in the area to come to a rough estimate of the home’s value.
You made your offer based on what you felt the home was worth (hopefully based on your agent’s research). When all is said and done, however, neither your opinion nor that of the seller matter. The home is worth what the appraiser says it’s worth, at least as far as your lender is concerned.
Who is the appraiser?
A professional appraiser is an unbiased third party that is trained to determine the value of a piece of property. While not all appraisers are state-licensed, federally regulated lenders are required by law to use only those who are. Like many real estate agents that belong to a national association that adheres to strict ethics, so do many appraisers.
Are appraisers always accurate in their evaluation of homes? Usually they are, but not always. It depends on the information available to them at the time.
What affects a home appraisal?
Numerous factors can influence a home’s appraised value. Some of these include:
- The national and local economies
- The location of the home
- Nearby foreclosures
- The condition of the home
- The value of other, similar homes that were recently sold in the area
- The appearance of the home compared to those that have recently sold
- Upgrades made to the home.
A day in the life of an appraisal
Let’s assume you’ve made a full-price offer on a house that is listed at $300,000. The lender will order an appraisal of the house before giving you the final decision on your loan application.
The appraiser visits the home and looks at every aspect of its exterior, from the roof to the soil. Then, she inspects the interior, from the ceiling to the floors. Finally, most appraisers measure the square footage of both the house and the lot.
Back at her office, the appraiser uses the information she compiled to compare it against comparable sales nearby. She takes other facts into account as well, such as any problems with the house and any upgrades. She may also check local planning departments to ascertain if anything is planned in the nearby community that may impact the home’s future value. Finally, the appraisal is compiled and handed off to the lender.
The best news a buyer can receive is that the house appraised for more than he offered. The next best news, for both buyer and seller, is that it appraised at the offered price.
Then, there’s the worst news
A buyer typically has four choices when an appraisal comes in under the agreed-upon sale price: ask the seller to lower the price, increase the cash down payment, negotiate with the seller to pay half of the shortfall and you pay the other half, dispute the appraisal or walk away from the deal.
Sellers, on the other hand, have several choices as well. These include lowering the price of the house to meet the appraised value.
If you feel the appraisal was too low, work with your agent to find discrepancies in the report. Check that it accurately reflects the square footage, the age of the home (as well as those of comparable homes) and the number of bathrooms and bedrooms. Check the comps the appraiser used for errors regarding the home’s condition.
If you find errors, have your real estate agent contact the lender for a new appraisal. Most experienced real estate listing agents come close to the figure that the appraiser gives. Typically, it’s the homeowner that sets an unreasonably high home price and a buyer that either wants the home so much she is willing to overpay or a buyer that doesn’t do her homework and fails to research the sales prices of nearby homes.
The above article, “The Appraisal: What You Need to Know When You Buy a Home”, has been provided by Justin Culley. Justin is a professional, full-time Realtor with Bridge Realty and has helped many people buy and sell homes throughout the entire Twin Cities metro for many years! If you are in the market to BUY or SELL a home, he would love to connect with you and can be reached via email at info@JustinCulley.com or by phone at 612-581-6842.
Are you thinking of selling your home? I’m very good at marketing homes to sell quickly, and for more money. If you’re a first-time home buyer then you’ll be in good hands. I’ve helped countless first-time home buyers through the entire process of buying that first home! I have a real passion for helping folks buy and sell homes here in the great state of MN and I would love to connect with you!
I help people buy and sell real estate in the following Twin Cities area cities & neighborhoods: Eagan, Hugo, Highland, Inver Grove Heights, Lake Elmo, Mac-Groveland, Mahtomedi, Oakdale, White Bear Lake and Woodbury to name a few. Other specialty areas include: Kenny, Lyndale, Tangletown, Lynhurst, Armatage, Kingfield and Carag neighborhoods.
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