If you’re looking to buy a home this season — or thinking about refinancing — you may be wondering how things have changed in recent months. Many routine activities, including parts of the home financing process, look a little different now due to social distancing and other safety guidelines. Getting an appraisal is one such step that you may be curious about. Whether you’re moving up, downsizing or refinancing, we have answers to your home appraisal questions and more:
Q: What is an appraisal?
A: Typically, it’s a process in which a licensed professional comes to the home to look at it and learn as much as they can. Then, they compare it to nearby homes that have recently sold. The appraiser’s job is to gauge the home’s value based on the property and data from the community.
Q: How are they being conducted right now?
A: Many appraisers are doing desktop and drive-by appraisals. The former means that they’re doing research based on local data, comparable sales and other recent appraisals. The latter involves the appraiser literally driving by the home to look at its exterior and the surrounding neighborhood. In both cases, they might also ask for videos and photos of the home’s interior if they’re unable to visit it themselves.
Q: When should I get an appraisal?
A: The process of verifying a home’s value begins after you sign a contract to purchase or refinance it. The appraisal will generally be scheduled for you. It would normally happen within the first few days after all parties agree to the terms of the home’s purchase, but it may be postponed in some cases, due to social distancing guidelines.
Q: How much does it cost?
A: The cost depends on various factors, including the property size and the type of home. Most often, they're a few hundred dollars, which is typically wrapped up into closing costs.
Please reach out if you have more questions about any part of the homebuying process.