We get this all the time…”when can we schedule our home inspection?”. The misnomer is so common, we thought it would be a good idea to clarify the difference between these two functions. As experts in home appraisal Northern Virginia, Premier Home Appraisals, are experts in home appraisals,  but it is important to understand the difference between the service we offer and what a home inspector does. Both are critical to the home buying/selling process, but from different perspectives and for different purposes. In our last blog we discussed what a home appraiser looks for when doing an appraisal. We talked about how we assess things like the size of the property, what the exterior looks like, and upgrades to the home as a measure of the home’s worth. Now let’s look at what is the home appraisal is for, who looks at it, and how that is different from a home inspection.

A home appraisal is a document used by the buyer’s mortgage lender to make sure that the house is selling for the proper amount, thereby the mortgage amount is set correctly. The lender pays the fee for the appraisal as it is in their best interest to ensure they are making good decisions about a property. Appraisers are looking at the house from the perspective of the buyer, which means looking for issues and concerns that could effect their decision to buy. This is a broad perspective, taking into consideration many factors that go beyond the physical structure of the house. For example, it is common for a home appraiser to comment on the neighborhood, convenience factors, or general condition of the area.

Though inspectors look at many of the same factors in the home itself, unlike inspectors, appraisers do not list defects in the home and recommend repairs. They are not focussed on structural issues unless it relates to the value of the property. Much of what they do is compare the asking price of this home to the sales price of similar houses in the same neighborhood (called “comparables or “comps”) . If there is a great disparity between those two numbers, without justification, that would be reflected in the appraiser’s report. The appraisal includes a value given to the property by the appraiser, if that value is significantly less than the asking price, the lender would have legitimate concerns about financing a house at that price.

Inspectors are much more detailed in their house assessment; they get in attics, crawl spaces, and everywhere where there may be hidden problems. They evaluate all areas for safety, need for repairs, maintenance concerns, and potential concerns. In addition to identifying problems, they also recommend fixes and ways to improve. This becomes a bargaining tool for buyers to negotiate on price, repairs, or upgrades prior to purchasing the house. If there are problems identified in the inspection report, the seller may reduce the price of the home to accommodate the repairs, or agree to make the repairs as part of the selling contract. The buyer hires the  home inspector and it is in their best interest to get one who is experienced and knows the community.

As you can see, both the home appraisal and home inspection are very important aspects of the home buying/selling process. It is important to work with qualified and experienced professionals when it comes to making the most important purchase of your life…your home. We don’t take these things lightly because we know the value we place on the home you want to buy can have an impact on your mortgage and financial status, for many, many years. Contact us at Premier Home Appraisals, the best home appraisals Northern Virginia, to get into your desired house.