Do you have to get a home value appraisal?

Most likely you will need to get an appraisal at some point during the home sale process. See more real estate pictures.

If you don't want to know what your home is worth in an economically challenged housing market, you won't like the answer to the question: "Do I have to get a home value appraisal?" Selling a house in a buyers' market -- or in a time of recession -- leaves many with no option but to sell for a price below what they owe on their mortgage, or home loan. According to one of the top real estate destinations on the Internet,, home prices in 76 percent of areas they researched were falling, and more than 23 percent of homeowners had mortgage balances higher than the value of their properties [source: Ellis].

These numbers aren't the most inspiring for those looking to sell their homes, but uncontrollable market forces are only part of the home selling picture. Even if making a profit or getting much out of the equity you put in is questionable, getting the most out of a home sale requires a really good faith effort on the part of the seller. You have some control over your home appraisal, and it begins with knowing what you're up against and who will be tallying the figures toward setting a home price.

Selling a home means that, yes, you do need to get a home value appraisal, and it will likely cost anywhere from $180 to $450 or more [source: Harney]. But the good news is there are options for how you can go about getting an appraisal, including the following:

  • Find an appraiser to help you determine the fair market value of your home.
  • Research and set a price through your own research.
  • Set a price and wait for an interested buyer to arrange a home appraisal through a lender or bank.
  • Wait for someone to knock on the door and offer you lots of cash because they love what they see.

Getting an appraisal of your own, as the seller, setting a price and awaiting confirmation of the price from a potential buyer -- and the buyer's bank -- is most often the way to go. But what happens if you don't agree with the appraisal or the buyer's bank doesn't agree with your price? Let's look at some options for increasing your home's value or working with what isn't working in your favor.