Home Inspection vs Appraisal: What's the Difference and Why You Need Both

Lisa Mailhot  |  April 20, 2023


Home Inspection vs Appraisal: What's the Difference and Why You Need Both

If you're in the process of purchasing a new home, getting an inspection is an essential step to consider. It allows you to evaluate the home's condition before closing the deal, which is crucial for making an informed decision. However, an inspection differs from an appraisal, which is a professional assessment of the home's market value. Lenders usually require an appraisal to ensure that the property's value is in line with the amount they're lending to the buyer. In this article, we'll provide a breakdown of both inspections and appraisals and explain why they're crucial when purchasing a home.

Home Inspection

Here’s the key difference between an inspection and an appraisal. Bankrate says:

“In short, while an appraisal helps you understand a home’s value, inspections help you understand a home’s condition.”

The home inspection is a way to determine the current state, safety, and condition of the home before you finalize the sale. If anything is questionable in the inspection process – like the age of the roof, the state of the HVAC system, or just about anything else – you as a buyer have the option to discuss and negotiate any potential issues or repairs with the seller before the transaction is final. Your real estate agent is a key expert to help you through this part of the process.

Home Appraisal

The National Association of Realtors (NAR) explains:

A home purchase is typically the largest investment someone will make. Protect yourself by getting your investment appraised! An appraiser will observe the property, analyze the data, and report their findings to their client. For the typical home purchase transaction, the lender usually orders the appraisal to assist in the lender’s decision to provide funds for a mortgage.”

When you're applying for a mortgage, an impartial appraisal is an essential tool to confirm the home's value based on the sale price. It's not just about how much you're willing to pay for the property - the lender needs to ensure they're not loaning you more than the home is worth. This is particularly important in today's competitive sellers' market, where limited inventory can lead to bidding wars and inflated prices.

In such scenarios, sellers may be tempted to set a higher price, assuming buyers will pay whatever it takes to win the bid. However, the lender's appraisal ensures that the buyer only borrows based on the home's actual value, which helps maintain a balance in the market.

If there's any discrepancy between the appraisal and the sale price, your trusted real estate professional can assist you in negotiating with the seller. So, when you're in the home-buying process, don't forget the critical role an appraisal plays in ensuring a fair deal for all parties involved.

Bottom Line

When purchasing a home, both the inspection and appraisal stages are crucial, and you don't have to handle them alone. With the help of an experienced real estate professional, you can receive the expert guidance you need to navigate the entire home-buying process seamlessly. Don't hesitate to reach out and connect today to ensure that you have the support you need to make informed decisions and secure your dream home.


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