Do you have to get a home value appraisal?

Inspection vs. Appraisal
Home inspections and appraisals are different, but equally important, steps in a real estate transaction.
Home inspections and appraisals are different, but equally important, steps in a real estate transaction.

While it is advisable to consider all home appraisal improvement recommendations, this should be after meeting the minimum upgrades, or the required fixes of a home inspection. An inspection is another review of your property that needs to come before a bank will approve a loan, and a qualified and certified home inspector is different from a trained appraiser. Reconciling the findings of the two is sometimes a value-added "fix" of its own. For example, an inspector can require replacement or repair of a gas furnace that is not sufficiently -- or safely -- heating a home, and installing a new unit with a warranty will likely be a big plus on the home appraisal as well.

Some confuse the appraisal and the inspection, which shows that the process isn't always explained to the seller well enough. It might help to see the inspection as a definite two-step process, because the inspector does come back to make sure that the noted corrections of his first visit get fixed. An appraiser, on the other hand, completes a report and gives it to the bank to make a decision about the home price. Contact with the seller (or seller's agent) and the appraiser is typically finished at that point, unless the seller's price and the appraiser's assessment are very different. Then an appraiser might offer steps to bring the property, and the report, closer to the desired selling price before sending the final appraisal to the bank and potential buyers.

Before tackling all of the projects recommended for improving your home appraisal, keep an eye on the market and know what will bring a return. If you're looking at a loss from the onset, just maintaining a clean and working home likely will be enough without a big output of work and money. And if it's any consolation, even in the best markets, people spend a lot of money steam-cleaning carpets, only to hear of potential buyers who want the wood floors underneath, and end up reducing the selling price to account for carpet removal. Just finished the basement? An eager buyer wants a workshop space with a drain in the concrete floors. The grass may be greener on the other side of the street, but chances are there is a buyer out there that will look at your house and consider it the one.

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