Almost every major real estate transaction involves a home appraisal. Appraisals ensure that the home is sold at an appropriate price that satisfies all parties involved. The entire process shouldn’t take longer than 14 days, and a typical appraisal takes between five and 10 days for a standard single-family home. Multifamily homes may take slightly longer and cost more than average.
Home appraisals are a necessary step in major real estate transactions, regardless of whether you’re buying or selling a home or just looking to refinance your mortgage. Not only that, but mortgage lenders also rely on the appraisal report to approve home loans. Since every home is unique, people new to the real estate world may find the process confusing.
An appraisal report will take some time to compile. But, how long does it take before you get a full appraisal done? And is it worth the cost?
How long do appraisals often take?
What is a home appraisal?
A home appraisal is an approved valuation of how much a property is worth. This is a professional opinion on your home’s value and is used by real estate agents and mortgage lenders any time your home is bought, sold, or refinanced. Appraisals determine whether the asking price for your home is warranted and appropriate.
The entire appraisal is meant to be a detailed market analysis that gives you a fair market value for your home. Lenders order appraisals whenever they sign off on purchase prices or when they confirm transaction prices.
How long does the entire appraisal process take?
Home appraisals take one to two weeks, depending on the appraiser’s workload and the demand for housing. You must have an appraisal visit done by a professional appraiser in addition to a comparable sales report. Both the visit and the report give agents and lenders a professional valuation of the home.
How long does an appraisal visit take?
An appraisal visit is short, usually between half an hour to an hour once the appraiser gets to the venue. During this time, the appraiser examines the home to ensure that everything works and to get a better idea of what the house offers. Borrowers usually pay the appraisal fee.
How long before I get the appraisal report back?
After requesting an appraisal, an appraiser often visits the home within a matter of days depending on his or her schedule. The report itself takes an hour or so to complete.
Following the visit and report, the appraiser reviews the home’s condition and location before delivering the report to your real estate agent. This takes about five to 14 days. However, if the current housing market is hot, it may take closer to 10 days.
How is my home’s value determined?
Values are determined by looking at the home as well as collecting data from homes that were sold in the area. The appraisal takes into account the number of bedrooms and bathrooms, the location, recent sales, and the asking price of similar properties.
It’s important to know that your appraiser must be federally licensed and certified. This licensed appraiser generally has to know the area they work in, and they must also provide an unbiased estimate. It is illegal for an appraiser to show partiality towards one party or another.
What is included in an appraisal report?
You might be surprised with the details contained in an appraisal report. A typical report will have all the following information:
- A sketch of the home
- A street map of the house as well as comparable properties nearby
- Photographs of the home, plus the street scene
- Notes about the home structure
- Notes about the physical inspection, plus issues that may require repairs
- An explanation of the square footage calculation
- Public tax records, market sales data, etc.
What do home buyers and sellers need to know about appraisals?
While appraisals are helpful for every party involved in a real estate transaction, the benefits differ depending on the party in question.
Homebuyers pay for the appraisal, which is actually a good thing. A good appraiser is worth their weight in gold. They can be the ones whose keen eye reveals what home repairs are necessary and can even help you barter a better deal with the seller.
If you take a look at our property value guide, you’ll notice that an appraisal also comes with a casual home inspection. This is to look for glaring issues that could impact your mortgage lender board’s decision to sell you the home. You may still need an additional inspection to understand all the repairs you need.
Unless you have a cash buyer, appraisal reports are vital for home sellers. Even then, most buyers will want an appraisal to grasp the financial value of the home. Without this report, your buyer can’t get a mortgage loan, which lenders require!
The appraisal is meant to provide all parties with a fair market value of the property, but you may not agree with that. If your appraisal report shows a price you feel is unusually low, it may be best to ask what happened and why. It’s okay to ask for a second opinion!
What does an appraisal typically cost?
Your home’s size and location will impact the price of an appraisal. Homebuyers should expect an appraisal to cost between $300 and $600 for a single-family home.
However, multifamily homes will cost more. If you’re hiring a home appraiser for a multifamily unit, most prices start at $500 for a small group of units and could exceed $1,000 for larger buildings.
Despite the additional cost appraisals require, they ensure you receive the best estimate needed for your mortgage loan. If you know this number already, take a look at the vendors below to find your ideal mortgage lender match!
What happens following the appraisal?
Once an appraisal is complete, a mortgage company reviews the value to determine whether it is appropriate. Based on this number, the lender will approve or disapprove the loan that you want to borrow.
If you get a low appraisal, you might be able to ask for an appeal based on comparable homes in the area.
What raises and lowers a home’s appraised value?
Several features determine a home appraisal, so check the table below to ensure you maximize your property’s value.
Here is a list of what could raise or lower an appraisal value.
- Live in a hot market or location
- Large square footage
- State-of-the-art appliances or amenities
- House is well-maintained and doesn’t require many repairs
- Home requires significant repairs
- Little to no curb appeal
- Old or broken home appliances
- Home’s location is in a high-crime area
- Square footage is unusually small
Of course, this list depends on the comparable sales in your area. For instance, if you live in a “tiny home” sector, a small square footage may not impact your home’s appraisal. If you live in a high-crime area, the comparable sales will likely reflect this fact as well.
Does a messy house affect an appraisal?
A messy home might be embarrassing, but messiness, such as clutter or a little dust on the counter, doesn’t harm your appraisal process.
However, a splintered wood floor or broken window will catch your appraiser’s attention and show up in the complete property analysis and final report.
Do appraisers know the selling price?
In most cases, your appraiser will know the selling price of the home—or at the very least, the asking price. However, this is not always the case. If you aren’t sure, ask them or ask your mortgage lender.
- A typical single-family home will take five to 14 days to appraise.
- The appraisal takes place in two shifts: the comparable sales and market analysis, as well as an in-home walkthrough appraisal.
- Large, well-maintained homes in great neighborhoods will earn the highest appraisal value.
- Every mortgage lender requires an appraisal before they agree to lend money for the home.
The right loan for your dream home
If you’ve already found and appraised your dream house, you’ll need to find the ideal home loan. If you don’t have time to do market research, don’t worry! We’ve done the hard part for you.
- What are appraisals and why do I need to look at them? — Consumer Financial Protection Bureau
- A Guide to Understanding a Residential Appraisal — The Appraisal Foundation
- Believe It or Not, Real Estate Affordability Hasn’t Changed Much in 40 Years — SuperMoney
- SuperMoney Guide to Property Value: 4 Critical Factors that Determine the Value of Property — SuperMoney
- 2021 Mortgage Industry Study — SuperMoney
- Best Mortgage Lenders | February 2022 — SuperMoney
- Home Purchase Mortgages: Reviews & Comparisons — SuperMoney