Where Can I Find an Appraisal on My House?

Where Can I Find an Appraisal on My House?

Who Appraises The Home?

Appraisals must be conducted by a licensed, third-party appraiser who has no connection to the buyer, seller or lender. That way, all parties can be sure the determined market value is fair, unbiased and free of any influence from a party that could benefit.

What Home Sellers Need to Know About Appraisals

As a seller, a low appraisal, if accurate, means you may have to lower your home’s price to get it sold. Holding out for an all-cash buyer who doesn't require an appraisal as a condition of completing the transaction is unlikely to net you a higher sales price. No one wants to overpay for a home.

Unfortunately, if your surrounding area has experienced recent distressed sales, that can lower your home’s appraisal value. If you feel that your home’s value has been dragged down by the sale price of nearby foreclosures and short sales, you may be able to convince the appraiser that your home is worth more if it’s in significantly better condition than those properties.

Getting an appraisal is also a required step when giving a home to a family member as a gift of equity.

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5. Appealing tax assessments

In many states, property taxes are calculated based on the fair market value of your home. If the value of your home listed on your property tax bill appears too high—if housing prices in your neighborhood or city have declined, for example—you may be able to appeal the assessment.

An independent appraisal could help strengthen your case, which ultimately could lower your annual property tax. The process for challenging assessments varies by state and locality, so be sure to check whether your state or locality allows homeowners to submit their own appraisals when appealing property tax assessments.

How Long Is A Home Appraisal Good For?

Generally, a home appraisal is good for a total of 120 days (4 months). If you do not close on your home within that time, you will need to have another assessment. Some people may be afforded an extension, but only in certain circumstances and only if they’re eligible. The exception is the VA, which has a 180-day timeline for most valuations except for IRRRLs (VA Streamlines), which have 4-month timelines.

An appraisal has a short lifespan because market conditions change. Home sales from 6 months ago might be drastically different from those in more recent months, especially if the real estate market is volatile.

What Lowers a Home Appraisal?

The home's location has the biggest impact on the valuation. For example, the value will be negatively impacted if the home is in an undesirable neighborhood or situated next to a junkyard, power lines, or a busy street. Though you can't change the property's location, you can do something about other factors that could lower the home appraisal. For instance, you can spruce up your curb appeal, make sure the house is clean and tidy, and take care of any light repairs and routine maintenance items.

How Much Does A Home Appraisal Cost (And Who Pays)?

As a general rule, most single-family home appraisals cost $300 – $400, while multifamily units typically cost upward of $600.

Even though most lenders require an appraisal as a condition of a loan closing, the buyer pays for the appraisal unless they negotiate for the seller to pay instead. The amount that a buyer pays for an appraisal depends on a number of factors, including the size of the home, the home’s location and the amount of property research that the appraiser ends up doing before they issue a final value report on the appraised value.

Keep in mind that if the property is on a very large plot of land, the appraisal cost will be more because the appraiser often surveys the boundary lines of the property to make sure that the listed square acreage is correct.

Buyers can also expect to pay a higher appraisal fee in a very rural area simply because there are fewer appraisers working in these areas. This might mean a longer wait for an appraisal as well. If you have any questions about how much your appraisal will cost, consult with your mortgage lender.

Home Appraisal Tips For Refinancers

When you’re refinancing, you want to get the highest appraisal value possible. A low appraisal value could keep you from refinancing, but a high appraisal value means more equity for you – which could mean more cash out or better loan terms. Here are some ways to up your chances of a high appraisal value.

Get An Outside Opinion

Your home is full of memories, which may give you blind spots when it comes to defects in your home. Have a friend or family member examine each room in your home and point out areas that can be improved. Sometimes, a new set of eyes is just what you need.

Declutter

A thorough decluttering will help each room look more put-together. While your appraiser shouldn’t assess your home’s value based on how much clutter or mess there is, it’ll be easier for them to see your home favorably if everything’s put away nicely.

List Upgrades And Improvements

Upgrades and improvements can increase your property’s value, but the work you’ve done may not always be obvious. Did you get a new air conditioner? Replace the windows? Add new landscaping? Provide your appraiser with a list of upgrades you’ve made so they can consider these items in their report.

Preparing for the Appraisal

You can help your appraiser by having all paperwork pertaining to your home available, including land surveys that were performed when you purchased the house and the title report. Include your most recent tax bill and any home inspection reports that have been done on your house. Know your homeowners association (HOA) fees and charges. Have the house as free of problems as possible: correct any interior or exterior faults. If you’ve made additions to the house, give the appraiser copies of your “permit” paperwork.

3. Getting a home equity loan

Unlike refinancing, home equity loans are a second loan on top of the existing mortgage. The amount you can borrow in a home equity loan is based largely on the amount of equity you have after the remaining value of the mortgage is subtracted from the current value of the house. If your home has decreased in value, you may not be eligible for a home equity loan.

How is a home appraised?

During a home appraisal, a licensed appraiser conducts a thorough inspection of the property.

The appraiser will consider all factors that could affect the property’s value. These factors include the condition of the property, any upgrades or additions made to the property, the size of the lot and “comps” or recently sold properties of comparable size and condition in the same market.

Make Sure the Appraisal Report Is Accurate

Although changes to the appraised value are not common, you can consider appealing the appraisal if you find a factual error in the appraisal report. For example, if the appraiser indicated two bedrooms instead of three bedrooms or there is an error in the gross living area.

If you didn’t receive the appraisal report from the buyer, contact the buyer’s real estate agent to request a copy. Then, carefully look through the appraisal report for errors.Were features accurately described? Did the appraiser adjust for differences between your home and the homes used for comparison purposes? When looking at the appraisal report, remember that if the home has a finished basement area, appraisers are required to report that area separately and not include it in the gross living area.

If you find errors, describe the factual errors in a letter and contact the homebuyer’s lender to ask about the procedure to fix errors. Do not try to contact the appraiser directly.

Mortgage Appraisal

Ask your local bank if they can provide an appraisal on your home. You may be subject to a charge for the service, but you’ll know that the appraisal is one that lenders use to establish mortgage limits. The appraiser will asses both the interior and exterior of your home, the neighborhood and your community before arriving at a price. Work with the appraiser and point out all the upgrades and positive features you’ve installed.

Takeaways

While avoiding an appraisal altogether might not be an option for those financing the purchase of their home, there are ways you can positively influence the outcome.

This article is meant for informational purposes only and is not intended to be construed as financial, tax, legal, or insurance advice. Opendoor always encourages you to reach out to an advisor regarding your own situation.

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