Appraisals - An Important Element in Home Buyingby Jennilyn Bylund
When it is time to buy a home, for most, it is time to get a home loan. An important element in the home-loan process is the home appraisal. Appraisals help to establish a property's current market value, and in turn help determine the amount of a home loan from a lender. An appraisal is similar to a comparative market analysis, (CMA) which real estate agents use to come up with a reasonable asking price when selling a home, but an appraiser's report is far more detailed and will be used by the lender to decide whether to supply a loan.
The property being appraised is referred to as the subject property. The report an appraiser completes on the subject property includes:
- Details about the subject property with comparisons to three similar properties.
- Evaluation of real estate in the area.
- Major structural renovations or problems with the subject property.
- Features of the subject property.
- What type of area the home is in.
Although appraisal reports are extensive and detailed, they cannot be considered a home inspection. Appraisers are not responsible for deciding if a home is not in good condition, nor do they conduct typical home inspection tasks.
The amount of time it takes to complete an appraisal can vary greatly. For the average subject property, it may only take a few minutes for an appraiser to do a physical inspection, but if you increase the size and complexity, it could take up to several hours. After a "walk through" of the home, an appraiser will invest time in checking out the rest of the neighborhood to find comparison homes and get a better idea of the current market conditions for the area.
When the appraisal has been completed, be sure to make a written request for a copy of the full report. Based on the Equal Credit Opportunity Act, your lender is required to provide you with a copy. If you have reviewed the report and have any concerns with the reported information, be sure to contact your lender as soon as possible.
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