How to Find Home Appraisal Value

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Contributor, Benzinga
July 6, 2021

Home appraisals are done by professionals, but you can usually get an idea of what your home is worth using websites like Redfin and Zillow. These websites use public record information to estimate your home's value, but these websites aren’t always accurate. 

There’s no way for these sites to know about unique aspects of your property. The values provided are purely estimates, and you need to get your home appraised by a professional to truly know what you can get for your home. 

Home prices are going up, and your property may be worth more than you might think. Find out how to find your home’s appraised value in 4 simple steps.

Step 1: Understand the basics of home appraisal value. 

Each piece of real estate is unique, and certain homes are hard to value. In general, the more unique your home is, the harder it’ll be to appraise accurately. Appraisers will look at previous sales in your neighborhood, and then find an average cost per square foot to value your home.

Square footage is only 1 of many factors that play a role in the appraisal value for your home. Other major factors are appliances, garage space and the number of bedrooms and bathrooms. Some other less important factors that affect your home’s value are landscaping, roofing and your home’s location within the neighborhood.

Step 2: Search for a professional home appraiser.

If you have a realtor, they should have appraisers in their network for you to choose from. There are plenty of appraisal services to choose from, but since these appraisal companies are so systematic, the appraised value will be very similar no matter the appraiser you choose.

If you’re curious to find an estimated value of your home, you can use Homelight’s services to estimate the value of your property. This can give you a basis for what your home is worth, but the appraised value may differ from these estimates since every home is unique.

Step 3: Compare cost.

According to Quicken Loans, the average cost of a home appraisal is $335. The price of appraisals will vary depending on your location, the size of your home, and your home’s value. 

An appraisal usually takes a few hours to complete, and the listing agent will go to the appraisal to meet the appraiser. If you have a good agent, they will point out unique aspects of your property to make sure your home appraises for the highest possible value.

Step 4: Define your house value.

After conducting an appraisal, your appraiser will conduct a market analysis on the value of your home. This will typically include other homes in your neighborhood, and important statistics like the average price per square foot, the average number of bedrooms, and the average number of bedrooms.

If you think your appraisal came in too low, you can ask your realtor if they think the appraiser missed something that could potentially add value to your home. This could be an in-ground swimming pool, expensive appliances or a new air conditioning unit. While appraisers don’t usually miss major items, sometimes unique aspects of your home will be overlooked.

Improve Your Home Appraisal

There are certain things you can do to your home before you put it in the market that will increase its appraisal value. The 2 most important rooms in your home in regards to its value are your kitchen and bathrooms. If you have the money, it could be a good idea to renovate these rooms before putting your home on the market.

While the appraisal heavily considers the number of bedrooms and bathrooms in your home, there is little you can do to change this. However, updating your bathrooms and kitchen before listing your home can increase your home’s value significantly. Not only do updated kitchen appliances and bathroom furnishings increase your home’s appraised value, but it also makes your home easier to sell.

There are also home improvements that will make your property more attractive to buyers, but they don’t typically increase your home’s appraised value. For example, painting your walls a color that’s in style (light grey is a popular choice) before listing your home can make your property more appealing to buyers. 

Relevant Information for Home Appraisal Value

Home appraisals are particularly important if the buyer of your home is taking out a loan to purchase your property. In order to secure a loan, the home must appraise for a certain amount over the loan’s value; home loans are typically 80% or less of the home’s appraised value. 

If the appraisal comes in lower than the initially agreed upon sales price, your realtor must negotiate with the buyer’s agent to come to an agreement. The bank pre-approves the loan amount when the buyer submits an offer, but this amount is contingent on the home’s appraised value.

This means the buyer and seller will need to negotiate who will cover the difference between the home’s appraised value and the initial purchase price in the buyer’s offer. In almost all cases, if the buyer and seller don’t reach an agreement, the buyer can walk away.

Who pays the difference between these 2 values often depends on the market conditions in your area. If homes are selling fast, it’s not uncommon for listings to sell above their appraised value. If this is the case, the seller has more leverage to request the buyer cover the costs of the home above the appraised value.

Sell Your Home Faster and for More Money

If you’re thinking about listing your home or just want to learn more about how much your home is worth, Homelight offers free real estate related services you can use. Homelight has a home estimate feature that takes more variables into account than other platforms like Zillow and Realtor.com, so you’ll get a more accurate estimate on your home’s value.

The website can also put you in touch with top-performing realtors in your area. Homelight uses objective data, such as number of sales, selling prices and the average time on market to find the best realtors in your area.

Do I Need an Appraisal for my Home?

If you’re listing your home for sale, most offers you receive will require a home appraisal. Home appraisals are necessary for all home buyers who are getting a home loan, and most buyers who pay cash still want an appraisal for peace of mind. Sometimes, cash buyers will waive the appraisal to make their offers more attractive, as waiving the appraisal makes the closing process much easier for the seller.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q. Are home appraisals public record?

Home appraisals are not public record. Appraisals are done by private appraisers who are paid a fee for doing so. This is different from an assessor, who works for your county to assess the value of your home for tax purposes. Getting an appraisal won’t affect your property taxes.

Q. Do sellers get a copy of the appraisal?

Yes. The buyer’s agent should send the listing agent a copy of your home’s appraisal upon receiving it from the appraiser. If the appraised value comes in low, the seller’s agent will need to see proof of the appraisal before negotiating.