The national average cost for a home appraisal ranges from $290 to $650. The typical appraisal cost for an average home is $300 to $350. Most appraisers charge a flat fee for an appraisal.
A home appraisal, which is different from an inspection, is most commonly needed when home buyers apply for a home loan for a mortgage. For the buyer to get approved, the lender will usually require a property appraisal prior to approving a loan. You may also need an appraisal if you plan to:
- Buy a home
- Sell a home
- Refinance a home loan or mortgage
- Appeal your property tax assessment
- Settle a divorce or estate
- Settle a property insurance claim
An appraisal can also help you gain a better understanding of your home's value for financial planning purposes.
While you can get a rough idea of how much your home might be worth from public records, property websites, or a real estate agent's comparative market analysis (CMA), these methods of valuation don't have the weight of an appraisal from the pros. If you want a realistic number (and for some situations, this is a requirement), you should hire a professional appraiser.
Before you hire an appraiser to assess your property's value, get an estimate of your home appraisal cost with this guide.
What's in this cost guide?
- What's included appraisal costs
- What is a home appraisal
- Appraisal vs. inspection
- Home appraisal cost factors
- Tips to hire a home appraiser
The cost of a home appraisal usually includes:
- An in-person visit to the home
- An analysis of the home's value
- A written appraisal report
In addition to the value of the piece of real estate, the appraisal report will also include details about the property's exterior and interior, neighborhood, and nearby comparable sales.
A home appraisal is an independent appraiser's estimate of the value of a residential property, such as a house, co-op, townhome, condo, or other piece of real estate.
Most appraisers are state-licensed or state-certified. They've completed special training to do their jobs, and they approach their work with an unbiased mind. Unlike you, your family members, and your real estate agent, an appraiser doesn't have a personal stake in how much your home is worth. As a home buyer, this is important to ensure you're not over-borrowing from a lender.
An appraisal usually includes an in-person visit to the home. During this visit, the appraiser isn't concerned with the home's superficial cleanliness or furnishings. Rather, the appraiser will focus on the home's location, lot size, square footage, architectural style, condition, building materials, such as granite or tile, amenities, such as a swimming pool or fireplace, and improvements, such as a finished basement, new patio or remodeled master bath.
The appraiser then prepares an opinion or estimate of the home's value. This estimate is based primarily on recent sales prices of other homes that are similar and located nearby. These homes are called "comparables" or "comps." The appraiser adjusts the valuation based on how closely the home matches or doesn't match the best comps.
An appraiser's opinion may not be the same as the home's property tax valuation, market value, or sales price.
Appraisers can also assess and prepare opinions of value for investment and income-producing properties. These reports are known as "commercial appraisals" because the properties are used for commercial purposes. Examples include multi-family housing, retail, industrial and office properties, and undeveloped land. Commercial appraisals generally cost more than residential appraisals.
An appraisal isn't a home inspection. An appraiser may point out significant hazards or safety concerns that could affect the home's value, but won't give you a full, comprehensive report about all of the home's major components.
Rather than assess the value of your home or real estate, a home inspection will check for potential problems and hazards. For buyers, this can give you an idea of how much you may have to spend on top of your mortgage for major home improvement projects. The average cost of an inspection is $330-$350.
Appraisal costs depend on the location, size, and style of your home or property.
Like the prices of other goods and services, costs for home appraisals may vary from one city to the next due to regional variations, such as local labor costs, the cost of living, and competition among suppliers. An appraisal in a large city with high housing costs may cost more than an appraisal in a lower cost area.
Appraisers usually charge higher fees for larger homes because they're more challenging to appraise. An appraisal of a home with a separate structure, such as a guest house, horse barn, or work studio, may also cost more. The additional fee may be based on the home's or separate structure's square footage.
How much you pay for a home appraisal will also vary depending on the style and condition of your home or property. Appraisers usually charge more to appraise unusual homes because it's more difficult to find good comparisons for those properties.
Examples include homes that are:
- Custom built
- Extensively remodeled or renovated
- Located on large or odd-shaped lots
- Badly damaged or in poor condition due to fire, flood or other hazards
- Have unique features, such as an ocean view
Before you hire an appraiser, you should:
- Ask about the appraiser's education, experience and training. Usually they're certified through the state. Ask also for a sample appraisal report so you can see what's included.
- Ask for a free estimate. It's smart to shop around and compare services and prices when you hire an appraiser so you can find one who's a good fit for you and your home. When asking for rate estimates, give as much detail about your home as you can, such as square footage, whether it's a single family home or multi-family, and any unique features.
Whether you're a buyer applying for a mortgage loan, or a seller setting a price before putting your home on the market, a pro can help appraise your property and calculate its value. To get started, find a home appraiser pro in your area on Thumbtack.
Marcie Geffner is a freelance content writer, reporter, editor and book reviewer in Ventura, Calif. Her work has been featured by dozens of notable publications, including the Los Angeles Times, Bankrate, Multifamily Executive, New Home Source, The Washington Post, and U.S. News & World Report.