Kathy Craig - ERA Key Realty Services


Home appraisals are an important part of the buying and selling process. Lenders use appraisals to make sure that the home is worth what the borrower is paying. A home’s appraisal value is based on a number of factors, all of which we’ll discuss in this post.

Whether you’re a buyer, seller, or are just learning about the process of buying a home so you’ll be better equipped in the future, this article is for you.

How is a home appraisal different from an inspection?

While home appraisals and inspections are performed by licensed or certified professionals, they have to different functions. An inspection ensures the safety of a home, as well as whether or not it will need repairs in the immediate or near future.

Appraisals, on the other hand, aim to value a home based on its property value, the size of the property, and the location of the property. The condition of the home is a factor in valuing a home, which is why some people confused appraisals with inspections.

Who pays for appraisals?

Like most closing costs, a home appraisal is a burden that falls on the buyer. Typically, the lender you choose will work with will actually order the appraisal. The cost, which usually amounts to a few hundred dollars, can be added to your closing fees. You can find the cost for an appraisal listed on the Closing Disclosure document provided by your chosen lender.

Which factors determine the home’s value?

To appraise the house itself, appraisers will look at the condition of the home. They’ll also weigh the features of the home in their valuation--things like the number of bedrooms and bathrooms, for example.

However, the two key characteristics of a home that contribute to its value are its age and size.

Which external factors contribute to the home’s value?

As you might suspect, the location of your home matters greatly when it comes to appraisals. Homes are appraised based off of average prices for their neighborhood and region.

Other location factors include how accessible the home is, if it’s located on a waterfront, and whether it has desirable views.

When does a home get appraised?

While your experience may vary based on your specific circumstances, most appraisals occur after a buyer has signed a purchase contract. One this is done, the lender will take the steps necessary to order and process the appraisal.

How long is the home appraisal process?

Once the buyer has signed a purchase contract, the appraisal is usually completed and processed within 7 days. The appraisal report will be sent to the lender. This report contains the appraised value of the home. Buyers are entitled to a copy of this report, and should keep one for their own records.


The homebuying journey should be fast and seamless, but problems may arise that prevent you from accomplishing your desired goals. For example, if a buyer with a poor credit score fails to get financing before submitting an offer to purchase a house, this individual may struggle to acquire his or her dream residence. Or, if a buyer fails to evaluate various housing market data, he or she may miss out on opportunities to purchase the right house at an affordable price.

There is no need to worry about homebuying crises. Lucky for you, we're here to guide you along the homebuying journey and ensure you can mitigate problems that otherwise may make it difficult for you to buy your dream house.

Avoid homebuying crises – here are three tips to help you minimize the risk of encountering problems during the homebuying journey.

1. Learn About the Local Housing Market

The housing market is complex, regardless of whether you are pursuing residences in small towns or big cities. Fortunately, plenty of housing market data is available to help you understand real estate patterns and trends. This information can help you map out your homebuying journey based on the current housing market's conditions.

Typically, it helps to look at the prices of recently sold houses in your preferred cities and towns. This information highlights whether house sellers are receiving offers at or above their initial asking prices and may help you differentiate a buyer's market from a seller's one.

You also should examine the prices of available houses that match your homebuying criteria. That way, you can hone your home search and accelerate the homebuying journey.

2. Get Pre-Approved for a Mortgage

Believe it or not, it usually does not take long for a homebuyer to get pre-approved for a mortgage. In fact, banks and credit unions can quickly teach you about different home financing options and ensure you can make an informed mortgage decision.

If you receive pre-approval for a mortgage, you can enter the housing market with a budget. Then, when you discover your dream house, you can submit an offer to purchase with home financing in hand.

3. Work with a Real Estate Agent

A real estate agent is a must-hire, especially if you want to limit the risk of potential crises during the homebuying journey. With a real estate agent at your side, you can identify homebuying problems and resolve these issues before they escalate.

Generally, a real estate agent will support you at each stage of the homebuying journey. He or she first will learn about you and your homebuying goals. Then, a real estate agent will create a personalized homebuying strategy to help you accomplish the optimal results. And if you have concerns or questions during the homebuying journey, a real estate agent is happy to respond to them.

Prevent homebuying crises – use the aforementioned tips, and you can increase the likelihood of a successful homebuying experience.


Before you launch a home search, it helps to prepare for the property buying journey as much as possible. Fortunately, there are many things you can do to get ready to find your dream house.

Now, let's take a look at three tips to help you prep for a home search.

1. Establish Homebuying Criteria

If you know you want to buy a home, it generally is a good idea to define your ideal residence as well. That way, you can streamline your house search.

Consider where you want to reside. For example, if you work in the city, you may want to focus on houses in or near the city itself. On the other hand, if you plan to return to school, you may want to search for a home near top colleges and universities.

Think about what features you want in your ideal home, too. If you have always wanted to own a home that boasts a luxurious outdoor swimming pool, for instance, you can map out your home search accordingly. Or, if you want to purchase a residence that features a state-of-the-art kitchen, you can search for a home that offers this amenity.

2. Get Pre-Approved for a Mortgage

A mortgage typically is a must-have, regardless of where and when you search for a home. And if you enter the housing market with a mortgage at your disposal, you will know precisely how much you can spend on a residence.

Getting pre-approved for a mortgage can be simple. If you meet with banks and credit unions in your area, you can review your options and select a mortgage that complements your finances.

If you have concerns about home financing, don't hesitate to ask questions. Banks and credit unions employ courteous, diligent mortgage specialists who can respond to your home financing queries. As such, you can work with these specialists to gain the home financing insights you need to make the best-possible mortgage decision.

3. Hire a Real Estate Agent

As you get set to conduct a home search, there is no need to work alone. If you hire a real estate agent, you can collaborate with a homebuying expert who can take the guesswork out of finding and purchasing a house.

A real estate agent is happy to provide guidance throughout the homebuying journey. He or she can offer tips and recommendations to ensure you can find a terrific home at a price that matches your budget. Plus, a real estate agent will simplify the process of setting up home showings. Perhaps best of all, if you are uncertain about whether to submit an offer to purchase a home, a real estate agent is ready to provide insights to help you analyze all of your options.

Dedicate time and resources to prepare for the homebuying journey. By doing so, you can enter the housing market with the insights you need to succeed.


Let's face it – stress can be problematic, particularly for a homebuyer who is competing with others to find the best house at the lowest price. Lucky for you, we're here to help you minimize the guesswork associated with purchasing a house, increasing the likelihood of a stress-free homebuying experience.

Now, let's take a look at three tips to help you enjoy a stress-free homebuying journey.

1. Study the Housing Market

The housing market conditions in one city or town may vary from the real estate conditions in another. As such, you'll want to assess the local housing market closely to identify patterns and trends. This will allow you to obtain comprehensive real estate market insights that can help you become a diligent homebuyer.

Of course, don't forget to analyze the prices of recently sold houses in your city or town too. This housing market information can help you differentiate a seller's market from a buyer's one so you can tailor your homebuying journey accordingly.

2. Prep Your Finances

Although you know that you want to buy a house as soon as possible, you still have no idea how you'll pay for a residence. Fortunately, if you prepare your finances today, you'll be better equipped than ever before to enjoy a stress-free homebuying experience.

Consult with a variety of banks and credit unions to learn about all of the mortgage options at your disposal. That way, you can explore a wide range of mortgage options and select one that matches your finances perfectly.

Also, be sure to ask lots of questions when you meet with lenders. These financial institutions employ friendly, knowledgeable mortgage specialists who can help you evaluate all of your home financing options. And if you ask plenty of mortgage questions, you can gain the insights that you need to make the best-possible mortgage decision.

3. Collaborate with a Real Estate Agent

If you want to avoid stress throughout the homebuying journey, it helps to hire a real estate agent. In fact, with a real estate agent at your side, you can get the support that you need to thrive.

A real estate agent will learn about your homebuying goals and help you map out a successful homebuying journey. As a result, a real estate agent will make it easy to identify potential homebuying hurdles and ensure that you can avoid such issues.

Furthermore, a real estate agent delivers extensive assistance at each stage of the homebuying journey. He or she will help you examine a broad array of houses and find a home that is right for you. Plus, after you discover your dream house, a real estate agent will help you submit a competitive homebuying proposal.

As you get ready to enter the real estate market, it helps to plan ahead as much as you can. Take advantage of the aforementioned tips, and ultimately, you can minimize stress as you proceed along the homebuying journey.


A home showing is a key part of the property buying journey. As such, it helps to plan ahead for a house showing as much as possible. Because if you enter a home showing with a plan in place, you can use this event to help you determine whether a residence is right for you.

Now, let's take a look at three tips to help you get ready for a home showing.

1. Make a List of Questions

A home showing is a valuable learning experience, particularly for a buyer who crafts a list of questions ahead of time. And if a buyer has a list of home showing questions in hand, he or she can gain the necessary insights to make an informed decision about a residence.

Before you make a list of home showing questions, you may want to review a house listing. Then, consider any information that you want to know about a house that is not included in the listing and craft your home showing questions accordingly.

Also, it is important to remember that there is no such thing as a "bad" question to ask during a house showing. If you ask lots of questions during a showing, you can learn about a residence and decide whether to submit an offer to purchase this home.

2. Establish Realistic Expectations

There is no telling how a home showing may turn out. Thus, it is important to plan for the best- and worst-case scenarios.

In the best-case scenario, a buyer will discover his or her ideal residence during a showing. On the other hand, in the worst-case scenario, a buyer will find that a home fails to meet his or her expectations.

Oftentimes, a buyer will need to attend several home showings before he or she discovers the right residence. And if you fail to find your dream residence during your first home showing, there is no harm in continuing your house search and attending other showings in the future.

3. Work with a Real Estate Agent

A real estate agent is a homebuying expert, and he or she is happy to help you prepare for a house showing. First, a real estate agent will offer lots of insights into a home and respond to any of your concerns and questions. He or she next will attend a showing with you. After a showing is complete, a real estate agent will meet with you and help you determine the best course of action.

In addition, when you discover your dream home, a real estate agent will do everything possible to ensure you can acquire this residence without delay. A real estate agent will help you submit a competitive offer to purchase your dream home. Plus, he or she will negotiate with a seller's agent on your behalf to help you get the best price on this residence.

Ready to attend a home showing? Use the aforementioned tips, and you can plan for a showing and boost the likelihood of a successful home search.




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