What is a Home Appraisal?

When You're Buying a Home

An appraisal provides an estimate of a home’s value. It helps make sure your offer for the home is appropriate for the home’s fair market value.

During an appraisal, the home is inspected and compared to similar homes in the area that have been sold within the last six to twelve months. Mutual of Omaha Mortgage will select who conducts the appraisal and any appraisal costs will be paid for by the buyer at closing.

The appraiser will be reviewing the following during his inspection of the home:

  • Square footage
  • Number of bedrooms and bathrooms
  • Overall condition
  • Quality of landscaping
  • Amenities like swimming pools and decks
  • Unique features of the home
  • Size and condition of the land the home is on
  • Visual inspections of the foundation, plumbing and electrical systems
  • Finishing details such as hardwood floors or updated lighting
  • Quality of the basement and attic
  • Sale price of nearby homes
  • Surrounding neighborhood and area

It’s important to note the appraisal is not the same thing as a home inspection. The appraisal primarily documents obvious visual conditions, along with a cost and size comparison to other homes. A home inspection will help you discover if the home requires minor or major repairs.

When You’re Selling Your Home

Once you have an offer to buy your home, you can expect the buyer’s lender to send an appraiser to inspect the house. Before this happens, you need to make sure your home is ready.

Correct any maintenance or other issues. Make any obvious cosmetic repairs. Get rid of clutter and make sure your home is clean. Prepare a list of recent repairs or renovations for the appraiser. Be sure to include the dates/costs along with receipts. A home that looks cared for can result in a better and higher appraisal.

Be sure to keep your pets out of the way while the appraiser is at your home and don't water your yard right before the appraiser arrives. The appraiser will need full access to your home, including the closets, attic and crawl space, etc.

Here are a few of the potential problem areas an appraiser will look for:

  • Appliances / electronic equipment not working
  • Cracks in the walls, ceiling or foundation
  • Leaking pipes
  • Older roof
  • Water stains
  • Wiring issues

Have questions? Want to learn more about the appraisal process? Contact Us online or call 800-310-0929.

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