One of the first steps of the home closing process is the appraisal. This is a professional, unbiased estimate of the value of the property you’re buying. Lenders will require that an appraisal be done on the property before they loan you money.
Appraisals take everything about the house into consideration: Condition, location, amenities, square footage, number of bedrooms, etc. as well as recent sales of similar homes. If you’re the seller, you want to make sure your house is in tip-top shape the day of the appraisal. Clean inside, mow the lawn, and tidy up landscaping. Open curtains and turn on lights to show your home at its best. It’s also a good idea to give the appraiser a list of major repairs and renovations done in the last several years.
The lender will usually order the appraisal, and the cost will be included on the Good Faith Estimate (GFE) provided by the lender before closing. The fee for an appraisal is typically a few hundred dollars. The appraiser is a third-party contractor who doesn’t stand to gain or lose anything by the sale of your home. The appraiser should be certified or licensed, and you should check to make sure they work with more than one lender to ensure there is no conflict.