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We know that buying a house is stressful. We're here to make it easier for you.

That's why our complete guide to home appraisal costs covers the ends and out of what you need to know about the entire appraisal process. This way, you can set a realistic budget as early in the process as possible and won't be hit with any last minute expenses.

A Complete Guide to Home Appraisal Costs: What You Need To Know

Here is everything you need to know about what it will cost to have your home (or future home!) appraised.

What is a Home Appraisal?

A home appraisal is when you determine a property's fair market value. Those involved in the property transfer process use a fair market value for two reasons.

The seller can use the fair market value to set a competitive, but fair, listing price for his home. A buyer needs a home appraisal to ensure that the value of the property he is purchasing is enough to back up the value of his home loan.

Why Do You Need a Home Appraisal?

There are two very different reasons that you might need to pay for a home appraisal.

If you are selling your home, here's the best example for you:

Let's say you bought a home for $250,000 five years ago.

During your time there, you completely redid the kitchen. Let's also say that the urban development of your city expanded in such a way that your property is now right in the middle of a thriving business district. If would be silly to think that your home is still only worth $250,000. You need to have it appraised to account for these changes.

If you are buying a new home, here's the best example for you:

Let's say you want to buy the home in the previous example. The person selling the house had it appraised to set its fair market value, which turned out to be $300,000. That's how much you offered to pay for it, which he accepted.

Only you don't have $300,000 just lying around. So you need to apply for a mortgage. Your lender now needs to make sure that the home's value really is $300,000. Because if the team at the bank is going to lend you that much money, they want to ensure that you have an asset to back it up.

How Much Does a Home Appraisal Cost?

The exact cost of getting your home appraised (whether you are buying or selling) totally depends on your location. If you live in a larger area, then prices will be more competitive as there are more appraisers to choose from.

However, nationally, here is what you can expect to pay:

  • The current national average: approximately $330
  • Highest reported costs: approximately $450
  • Lowest reported costs: approximately $250

A quick caveat: a certified home appraiser should always quote you a flat fee or hourly rate rather than a percentage of the home's value.

This is because he cannot know the value of your home before looking at it. If you receive a quote like this, it is usually a sign of an unethical appraisal agent.

What Does the Cost of Appraisal Cover?

An appraisal agent will only spend a couple of hours on your property. He or she will comb through your house and make judgments based on the following things:

  • The overall condition of the home
  • The square footage of the home
  • The size of the property lot
  • The quality of the landscaping
  • How many bedrooms and bathrooms there are
  • The quality of natural light in the home and the number of windows
  • The number of fireplaces
  • The addition of a swimming pool
  • The state of the basement
  • The finishing details in the home (such as the material of the countertops and floors)

The appraisal agent will also consider the following things:

  • The location of the home
  • The views from the home
  • The selling price of similar homes

After his initial pass through your home, the agent returns to his office and writes up a report of everything that he observed. He then sends this report to your lender or agent to either confirm or deny the worth of the property. You can also request a copy of this report.

So, essentially, you are paying for his time and professional opinion.

How Long Does a Home Appraisal Take?

Not too long. As mentioned, the actual act of the appraisal itself only takes a few hours. What takes the longest is when the agent returns to his office to create the report.

It usually takes five to seven business days to receive the results of your appraisal. Because of this, it's always best to request it as early as you can if you would like to keep things moving.

Need an agent to walk you through the appraisal process? Clever is here for you! Our agents will be there for you every step of the way – all for just one flat fee. Call us today at 1-833-2-CLEVER or fill out our online form to get started.


Andrew Schmeerbauch

Andrew Schmeerbauch is the Director of Marketing at Clever Real Estate, the free online service that connects you top agents to save on commission. His focus is educating home buyers and sellers on navigating the complex world of real estate with confidence and ease. Andrew has worked on projects for the United Nations and USC and has a particular passion for investing and finance. Andrew's writing has been featured in Mashvisor, L&T, Ideal REI, and Rentometer.

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