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How to get a real estate appraisal

By Andrew Bell

Getting a real estate appraisal is beneficial for both homeowners and buyers and is a common part of the real estate process. But is it really that important and, if so, why? Here, we go into detail about why getting a real estate appraisal is valuable, where to get it from, and who should be in charge of the process.

What is a real estate appraisal?

A real estate appraisal is an unbiased professional opinion of a property or house's value. There are many reasons to get a real estate appraisal, including:

  • Buying real estate.
  • Refinancing property.
  • Selling a house or land.

Appraisals are not exclusive to the real estate world and are used in most high-value transactions. They increase the trust that a buyer has in the seller, and give the seller some important credit to operate successfully where a mortgage is at play.

There's a key distinction between a real estate appraisal and a valuation. An appraisal is used as a pricing guide but has no weight in legal matters. It is an estimation, which is useful in average transactions. On the other hand, valuations are often used in property settlement issues and other disputes. According to, a valuation is something that can only be carried out by a qualified valuer and there also will be a fee. After, you will get a report that can be used for legal purposes.

Here is a brief summary of what is included in a valuation:

  • Details about the property.
  • Local amenities and attractions.
  • Estimated future value.
  • Renovations that have been made recently.
  • Other definitive values.

In this article, we're going over appraisals only, which is something that can be offered through a third-party professional or your real estate agent. If you have no real estate agent, be sure to see your own professional, certified residential appraiser.

Who needs a real estate appraisal?

Now that we fully understand what a real estate appraisal is, let's take a look at when you should consider seeking one.

  1. Mortgage lending purposes: Anytime there is a mortgage involved, from selling and buying to refinancing your house, an appraisal is necessary.
  2. Market changes: In a world where the real estate market is seeing unprecedented changes,  it's a good idea to seek an appraisal to understand where your property is valued in the current market.
  3. Before or after home improvements: After spending some money and taking the time to improve your home, an appraisal would reveal your real estate's new value after the upgrades have been made.
  4. Tax assessments: An appraisal could help a buyer understand how much in property taxes they would owe if they owned real estate in an area that charges them.

What you will see in the appraisal

A home appraisal will cover some important information, which is similar to what a property valuation covers. Here's what you may see in your real estate appraisal:

  • Curb appeal of the property.
  • Condition of the interior.
  • Property size.

Other notable components that impact the home's value, such as:

  • Pool and its condition.
  • New appliances.
  • Garage size.
  • HVAC system status.
  • Recent home renovations.

The age, features, land and overall condition and qualities of the property will determine the results that the supervisory appraiser finds.

How to get a real estate appraisal

One of the reasons a real estate appraisal is important is because it ultimately protects the interests of the lender. Because of this, the lender may pay the fees associated with the service. The appraisal is performed by a qualified and certified general appraiser, so their opinion can be trusted by lenders, sellers and buyers.

Before you list a property, it's usually advisable to get a real estate appraisal to help the listing agent accurately sell your house in the current market. An accurate appraisal will help all parties involved price the house and land correctly from the very start. This will lead to less negotiation between sellers and buyers and both parties will hopefully be satisfied with the cost of the real estate.

An important reminder is to only get appraisals from certified real estate appraisers who have a good track record in their market. Ask for referrals if you're not going through a real estate agent. If you are using an agent, they're likely to have good connections with appraisers who will do a good job.

On the same note, it's beneficial to use an appraiser who is familiar with the market in which the property is located. They will have a better understanding of the local market and provide you with accurate information compared to other properties in the area.

When it comes time to schedule the appraisal, be sure that your house is ready for the occasion by ensuring it's in its best condition. With this in mind, be sure to have the appropriate documentation, which speaks to the value of the real estate, in order to share with the licensed residential appraiser. This may include proof of home improvements.

Once the real estate appraiser has given you the report, review it with your lender or real estate agent. They'll share what the appraisal means in regards to your situation, whether you are a seller or a buyer.

Obtaining a real estate appraisal has many benefits for those who own real estate or are looking to invest in more property. The document will help you be able to make smarter, more educated financial decisions. After the week it takes for the professional to complete the appraisal, you will have the information necessary to buy a house, sell your property or get an accurate refinancing opportunity. Contact us today to learn more

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