What’s The Difference Between An Appraisal And A Home Inspection?

Buying a home can be confusing. Even after you’ve found what you think is your “dream home,” there are many steps to take before the last t’s and i’s are crossed and dotted.

It can be hard to keep track of what’s what, and so buyers often confuse the purposes of a home appraisal and a home inspection—which are two separate things. Both will require entrance to the property via the existing lockbox or a scheduled meeting with your agent.

Home Appraisal vs. Home Inspection

Two types of walk-throughs may occur after your real estate agent receives the seller’s acceptance of the offer.

Home Appraisal Walk-Through

The first is a walk-through from a licensed or certified appraiser. This step is typically required by – and generated by – the lender. Lenders typically have independent appraisers they prefer to use and recommend because they want the job done right.

The home appraisal compares your home and property status with those in the local area to verify that the price you’re paying makes sense to the bank compared to similar properties. In other words, if you default on the home loan, the lender wants to ensure they can make their money back (and then some) when they resell it.

Home Inspection

Your real estate agent will recommend a home inspection so you have a clear idea of the status of each significant component in the home. Like lenders, agents often partner with certified home inspectors they can rely on to provide fast turnarounds and accurate inspection reports.

What Happens During the Appraisal?

The home appraisal is done to establish the home’s fair market value – regardless of what you’re willing to pay. So, the appraiser does an in-depth walk-through. However, they don’t have the know-how or the prerogative to provide any construction-oriented feedback.

Appraisers are more interested in:

  • Measuring exterior/interior spaces to ensure square footage is accurate.
  • Provide a general statement about the home’s status/condition with photo evidence. For example, they may note things are outdated or cite obvious damage, but that’s it.
  • They verify that the number of bedrooms/bathrooms is accurate and that the home has the appliances, features, bonus rooms, etc., as advertised.
  • They’ll note any additional bonuses or features that may add value to the home (as well as any that would detract).

Once appraisers complete their report, they provide the lender, agent, prospective buyer, and seller with an official appraisal report that states what they feel the real market value of the home is when compared with recent final sales prices from similar homes in the area.

What Is A Home Inspection?

Home inspections are an in-depth, construction-specific evaluation of the property. In the case of buying a new home, homebuyers get a complete home inspection to get a clear picture of the home’s condition from top to bottom.

Here’s an example of what your home inspector will be looking at:

  • Property grading and drainage
  • The roof system
  • Attic, insulation, and ventilation
  • Plumbing
  • The foundation, looking for any evidence of cracks or issues
  • HVAC systems and duct work
  • Furnaces/chimneys
  • Electrical panel, wiring, fixtures, and outlets
  • Windows and door frames
  • Exterior/interior trim
  • Flooring
  • Ceilings
  • Exterior siding, masonry, or stonework
  • And more

A pre-purchase home inspection will not tell you anything about a home’s market value, but it will tell you some essential things about whether a home is safe and structurally sound. Based on what you learn from the final inspection report, your house may go up or down in “personal” value.

Other Types Of Inspections

In addition to home inspections and home appraisals, you may order additional inspections or add-ons from the home inspection company. For example:

  • Wind Mitigation: A wind mitigation inspection looks specifically at the specific home features that protect the building from storm and wind damage. These can be automatically generated from a full home inspection. However, for long time homeowners who simply get 4 point inspection for insurance purposes, adding a wind mitigation inspection is a good idea and could save you on insurance premiums.
  • Sewer Scope: If you’re purchasing a home that is 30 years old or more, is obviously not in good repair, or your home appraisal noted evidence of sewer/septic issues, you should invest in a sewer scope inspection so you know where things stand.
  • Wood Destroying Organisms (WDO): If you’ve scheduled a full home inspection, you can add on a WDO inspection. If we determine your home is currently infested, we can refer you to a local licensed pest control firm to take it from there.
  • Infrared: Similarly, infrared inspections are another full home inspection add-on. Any signs of latent leaks or moisture control issues can be hard to assess accurately without a view into the interior walls. However, using infrared technology, we can see inside the walls without opening them up, better identifying the problem’s source.

SIP is Volusia County’s Top Home Inspector

Looking for a qualified home inspector? Super Inspection Pros is an InterNACHI-certified inspector with decades of experience serving Central Florida with efficient yet thorough home inspections.

To simplify things, we’re happy to time our visit with the appraiser, making it even easier for your real estate agent. Contact us today for more information or to schedule an inspection of your home.

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