How much does a home appraisal cost?
$350 – $600 average appraisal cost
Average home appraisal cost
A home appraisal costs $350 to $600 on average, depending on the property size, location, appraiser experience, and loan type. Appraisals for FHA and VA home loans cost $400 to $900 due to their specific requirements. A house appraisal is used to estimate the property's real estate market value.
|National Average Cost
|$350 to $600
Home appraisal cost overview
Appraisal costs vary depending on the type. Traditional appraisals include a visit to the property, but other appraisal types may rely on a less detailed drive-by, third-party assessment, or valuation based solely on computer research.
|$350 – $600
|The appraiser visits the home to conduct an in-person assessment, taking measurements and photos to document the home's conditions and features.
|$100 – $150
|The appraiser determines value based on public records and a drive-by to view the home's exterior.
|$250 – $375
|The appraiser completes their valuation without visiting the home, relying on a third party to physically view the space for them.
|$75 – $200
|The appraiser relies on property records, floor plans, and comparable houses to determine the home's value without ever visiting the property.
What impacts the cost of a home appraisal?
The cost of a home appraisal depends on several factors, including:
Property size and complexity – A larger or multi-unit home takes longer to appraise. Unique features require more time to value, increasing appraisal costs.
Location – Appraisers in high-cost areas have higher rates, while those who must travel to rural areas often charge more for their travel time and costs.
Home condition – Homes in poor condition or those with unkept yards and cluttered interiors often result in higher appraisal fees as appraisers struggle to view and value the space.
Accessibility – Difficult-to-access basements, attics, and outbuildings take longer to appraise, increasing costs.
Real estate comps – Appraisers look at sales within the last 90 days to assess the comparable homes in the area. When there are limited sales and comps take longer to research, the appraisal costs increase accordingly.
Mortgage type – Appraisals for FHA and VA loans typically cost more because of the extra standards that they require.
FHA appraisals cost $400 to $700.
VA appraisals cost $425 to $900.
Why is a home appraisal needed?
The purpose of a home appraisal is to estimate the home's value. Whether buying, selling, or refinancing a home, financial lenders require a home valuation to determine how much money they can reasonably lend. The most common situations in which you need a home appraisal include:
Buying a home – The lender needs an appraisal to ensure they don't lend a borrower more than the property is worth. They also use an appraisal to determine the buyer's loan-to-value (LTV) ratio.
Selling a home – A current valuation of your home helps in setting the right sale price and in negotiations with prospective buyers.
Refinancing a mortgage – An appraisal assures the lender that your home is worth enough to issue a new mortgage to replace the existing one.
Borrowing against your equity – An appraisal determines how much available equity you can borrow from if you need a home equity loan, home equity line of credit (HELOC), or a cash-out refinance.
Death or divorce settlement – An appraisal aids in the precise and fair division of assets when transferred or split among multiple parties.
Tax disputes – An appraisal is proof of value and helps resolve problems with your local tax authorities' valuation of your property.
Bankruptcy – An appraisal establishes fair market value for the judge during the bankruptcy process.
Home appraisal vs. home inspection
While the terms sound similar, a home appraisal is different from a home inspection. The purpose of a home appraisal is to determine the home's value, while an inspection determines the home's condition.
A home inspection costs $200 to $500+. The inspector evaluates the physical structures like the roof, foundation, and utility systems to ensure structural integrity and uncover any potential problems. Home inspections differ from an appraisal in several other ways, including:
Home inspections aren't mandated by law or required by lenders.
Home inspections protect buyers from expensive repairs that would likely go unnoticed by a home appraiser.
Home inspections take an average of 2 to 4 hours to complete since they scrutinize the entire home both inside and out.
Home appraisal tips for buyers
When buying a home, an appraised value that doesn't match your purchase price can bring the purchase to a grinding halt. Your lender could deny the mortgage loan or require you to bring cash to closing. Here are some tips to help you prepare for the home appraisal:
Avoid offering too much over the asking price.
Appeal the appraisal if needed.
Renegotiate the home price with the seller if the appraisal is too low.
Reconsider the home purchase if the home is not worth the price.
Home appraisal tips for sellers
When you are selling your home, a good appraisal helps you set a realistic asking price and better negotiate with buyers. Here are some tips to improve the value of your home and get a higher appraisal:
Improve the curb appeal by painting, landscaping, and removing any yard clutter.
Make minor repairs like replacing light bulbs and patching holes.
Declutter and clean your home to allow the appraiser to focus on the home's features instead of the mess.
Provide documentation of any upgrades and improvements such as new appliances, roof repairs, or remodeled kitchens and baths.
Attend the appraisal to answer any questions and point out features of your home that you believe add value.
Let your appraiser know of any recent sales in your neighborhood that should be considered or if you've received multiple offers, which shows the appraiser your home was priced well.
Home appraisal FAQs
Who pays for a home appraisal?
The party that hires the appraiser pays for any costs associated with the appraisal.
When buying a house, the buyer pays for the appraisal to obtain a mortgage.
When selling a house, the seller can choose to pay for an appraisal to set a competitive listing price for their property.
On new construction, the buyer pays for the appraisal to obtain a mortgage. Buyers not financing the purchase may hire an appraiser to ensure they aren't overcharged by the builder.
In a divorce, the appraisal cost is typically split equally between the spouses. If one of the spouses is buying the other out, then they pay the entire fee instead.
On a home equity loan, the borrower pays for the appraisal.
How long does a home appraisal take?
A typical home appraisal takes 30 minutes to 2 hours. The final appraisal report is completed within 1 to 2 weeks, depending on the appraiser's schedule and the complexity of the property. Appraisals of multi-unit properties or those with unusual features take longer to complete.
What does a home appraiser look for?
Home appraisers consider many details to determine a home's value. They conduct market research and usually visit the home to see the property in person. A thorough home appraiser will check the following features:
Lot and home size
Number of bedrooms and bathrooms
Age and design of the home
Condition of the home and appliances
Any extra amenities such as pools, fireplaces, decks, or fences
Any home improvements or renovations
Local real estate market trends
What hurts a home appraisal?
Several factors can hurt a home appraisal, including:
Outdated or damaged HVAC, plumbing, electrical systems, or appliances
Homes in poor condition or needing major repairs like a new roof or windows
Homes in a less desirable area with lower-rated schools or amenities
Homes with too many customizations that don't appeal to all buyers
Homes lacking curb appeal
Can I dispute my home appraisal?
Yes, if you disagree with the appraiser's valuation, you can dispute the original appraisal, but you will need to provide evidence and documentation. Be prepared to gather additional comps that support your claim and provide proof of upgrades you've completed on the home, including any associated permits.
Are online valuations the same as an appraisal?
No, online valuations are not the same as an appraisal. Online valuations are best used in the early research stages of buying or selling a home. The free valuations rely on publicly available data and do not consider the home's condition or updates which can greatly impact the home's value.
Getting estimates from home appraisers
A qualified home appraiser can make or break your home buying, selling, or refinancing process. Be sure to find the best home appraiser near you by following these recommendations:
Check with your real estate agent or financial lender for recommendations.
Confirm the appraiser is licensed and certified in your state.
Ask about their experience, qualifications, and knowledge of the local market.
Read their appraisal business reviews on HomeGuide and Google.
Trust your instincts and be confident you are hiring a qualified professional who will do their best for you.
Questions to ask home appraisers
A trusted home appraiser can guide you through the appraisal process and answer all your questions. Those questions should include the following:
How many years have you been appraising homes?
Do you understand the local market for homes in my neighborhood?
Are you a state-certified home appraiser for federally regulated lenders?
How do I prepare for my home appraisal?
Will you provide a copy of the final appraisal report?