If you are involved with buying or selling a home, it is important to understand the difference between an appraisal and a home inspection. While both are very important to the entire transaction, they are very different things.

When purchasing a home, there are two “inspections” that typically take place: One is in conjunction with an appraisal which is typically done to determine the fair market value of the property for lending purposes, and the other is a home inspection which is primarily intended to protect a buyer from unknowingly purchasing a home with significant defects. 

If you are not paying cash, your lender will probably require an appraisal to be completed. Consequently, an appraiser will typically come to the home and do an “inspection”. The purpose of this inspection is to gather data so the appraiser can start the valuation process. He or she will measure the house, walk through each room, take pictures and write notes. Depending on the size of the home, the inspection could take anywhere from 30 to 60 minutes or possibly longer. Most of the appraiser’s work takes place back in their office.

An optional service that is usually ordered by the buyer is a home inspection. The purpose of this service is to have an extensive and comprehensive look at a home for any red flags or repairs that may be needed. The home inspector will likely spend a much longer time at the house because he or she assesses the overall condition, paying close attention to the mechanical systems as well as major appliances. A written report is then made, but most of the home inspectors work takes place on-site.

Some make the mistake of thinking that an appraiser is also looking in-depth at the house and will report major defects. Although appraisers will certainly consider any known defects that might affect value, they are not home inspectors. An appraiser looks at a home in much the same manner that a potential buyer would. Whatever is readily observable will be noted, but do not expect the same level of detail from an appraiser that you would see in a home inspectors report. They are different services for different purposes.

Of course, either of the services may be ordered without a home purchase. If you’re curious about the value of your home or would like to be made aware of any defects that your home might have, contact our office and it will be our pleasure to complete a thorough professional appraisal for you or to recommend a competent home inspector for you.