A house appraisal costs $350, on average, with costs typically ranging from $325-$395. On the low end, appraisal fees range from $165-$299, while high-end costs range from $500-$700.
Home appraisal cost:
National average cost
Average cost range
Low-end cost range
High-end cost range
A residential appraisal is an opinion of a property’s value. Whether you require it as part of a real estate transaction, refinance or estate planning purposes, an appraisal is something that almost every homeowner will need at some point. Keep reading to learn more about appraisal fees, the process of getting and more.
What’s in this cost guide?
- How much is a home appraisal?
- Real estate appraisal cost factors
- What is a home appraisal?
- Who pays for a home appraisal?
- How to prepare for a home appraisal
- What do they look for in a home appraisal?
- What hurts a home appraisal?
- What adds value to a home appraisal?
- How to get a home appraisal
- Find appraisers near you
Appraisal fees can range anywhere from $165-$700, but most people pay between $325-$395. If the home is located in an area that includes plenty of comparable local properties (called “comps”), you’ll likely see fees on the lower side. But if the property is unique and it’s difficult to find comparable market data, getting an appraisal will likely cost more.
There are other factors that can affect the cost of an appraisal as well.
Appraisal fees may vary from one city to the next due to regional variations, such as local labor costs, the cost of living and more. In short, getting an appraisal in a large city with high housing costs may cost more than getting an appraisal in an area with a lower cost of living.
Home 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 higher fees may be based on the home's or separate structure's square footage.
Home condition and age
How much you pay for a home appraisal will also vary depending on the style and condition of your home or property. If the home is old, damaged and needs major repairs, the appraiser will need to work harder to do their job — thus, their fees may be higher.
Ability to compare against other properties
Appraisers usually charge more to appraise unusual homes — custom-built homes, homes with unique features, etc. — because it's more challenging to find good comparisons for those properties.
A home appraisal is a process of determining the “opinion of value” for a residential property. Or, as the National Association of Realtors (NAR) states, "An appraisal is an opinion of value used for real estate-related financial transactions."
Appraisals are most commonly used during a real estate transaction involving a home loan or mortgage. If you’re a homebuyer, a lender will need to make sure the home has collateral and is worth the asking price before they grant you the loan you’ve requested.
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.
If you’re a home seller, take steps to prepare for the appraisal. Keep in mind the appraiser will need to access the major areas of your house and property, so make sure these areas are in presentable conditions. And if you've done anything to increase your home’s value, have those details readily available.
Here’s a quick to-do list to complete before the appraisal process begins:
- Walk around your home’s interior and exterior, and conduct your own inspection.
- Spruce up your home by decluttering and organizing.
- Consider doing light touch-ups and small improvements (think: fixing chipped paint).
- Make sure the areas in your home are accessible.
- Create a list of the home improvement projects you’ve completed.
Once the appraiser arrives, they'll inspect the house (interior, exterior or both), taking pictures as they go. It's usually best to stay out of their way as much as possible. Their main objective is to provide an opinion of value that is independent, fair and reflects current market conditions.
When creating their report, an appraiser will typically look for the following information:
- The home’s title and sales history.
- Any home additions or permits.
- The property and market area, which they can find in county and municipal records.
And, they’ll also consider the home’s:
- Location and topography
- Upgrades and improvements (kitchen, bath, roof, etc.)
- Amenities and features
- Plumbing, electrical, HVAC systems
- Exterior and outdoor areas
- Overall interior condition
- Size, number of stories, number of rooms, etc.
There are several factors that can cause your appraisal to come in low. For example, deferred home maintenance and insufficient comps in the area may negatively impact your appraisal.
Why home appraisals come in low:
- Changes in the market.
- The home’s exterior lacks curb appeal.
- The home’s interior is in poor condition.
- The home’s systems are outdated and need replacing.
- Some major home improvements aren’t valued as highly as you thought.
Related content: When to skip DIY and hire a pro instead.
Any recent updates or additions to a property may help your appraisal. Keeping receipts and records of costs invested into the home will be helpful to share with the appraiser.
Cleaning and maintaining your home is also a good idea to ensure your property has its chance to shine when the appraiser arrives. Local market conditions can also have a positive impact.
Here are some things you can do to help your chances of getting the appraisal you want:
You should also utilize your real estate agent, who should be able to give you advice and share comps with the appraiser.
If you’re buying a home, your lender will choose and hire the appraiser. But if you want your home appraised for other reasons (perhaps you want a second opinion), you can hire a professional near you. Be sure to read their customer reviews, ask them questions about the process and get price quotes from at least three appraisers before you make your decision on who to hire.
When you’re ready to hire an appraiser, there are some important things to keep in mind. For example, find out if the appraiser has the proper educational background, credentials and license to work in your state.
It's also important to work with a real estate agent who has expertise in the local market, can help with valuation data and can pull up a list of comparable listings in your area,
How long does a home appraisal take?
You’ll likely receive your home appraisal report in a few days or a week.
How long is a home appraisal good for?
Home appraisals are typically good for a couple of months — sometimes, three, four or six months. Check with your lender to find out how long your appraisal will last.
What’s the difference between a home inspection and an appraisal?
A home appraiser is an independent third party who will ensure a fair and ethical opinion of value. The appraiser will take into consideration comparable properties, as well as the home’s overall condition, when creating their appraisal report.
A home inspection takes a much closer look at all aspects of the property. A home inspector doesn’t determine an opinion of value for the home in its entirety. For example, a home inspector will check your:
- Electrical outlets
- Fireplace safety
- Main systems (HVAC, appliances, etc.)
- Sewer line conditions
- And more.
Marcie Geffner contributed to this article. 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.