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Real Estate Blog

Home Inspection vs Appraisal

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

So many buyers ask me what inspections should we do?  That question is answered only by the buyer and the concerns each buyer has.  However, I always recommend that buyers do a Home Inspection.  It is the best money spent in the transaction. 

A Home Inspection will cost $250 and up based on the price of the house.  It should take approximately 2.5 to 3.5 hours, again depending on the size of the home.  Home Inspections should be done on both re-sales and new homes.  (New home prices could vary due to the number of times the home inspector comes out....typically 3 times.)  You as the buyer should plan to attend the inspection along with your real estate agent.

What does a home inspection consist of?  A home inspector will determine the CONDITION of the property.  The inspection will consist of all of the mechanical of the home; i.e.: heating, air conditioning, water heater, plumbing, electrical, appliances, etc.   Also, foundation, water penetration, roof, leaks, doors, windows, exterior items such as decking, porches, grading, etc. 

A home inspector will give advice on maintenance to keep your home in good condition and some inspectors will even offer phone support while you are in the home.

What does a home inspection NOT INCLUDE?  A home inspection is not for cosmetic or maintenance items, even though advice to help you as a homeowner will be obtained.


An Appraisal will determine VALUE for the bank.  The appraiser will contact the listing agent to obtain entry into the property.  This inspection will take approximately 20 to 30 minutes.  Usually the only person that attends is the person who gives entry, i.e. the listing agent or homeowner.  

What does the Appraiser inspect?  Depending on the loan program of the buyer, the appraiser will have a checklist of items.  He/she will make sure those items meet the requirements of the loan program, as well as making sure the price is a fair price for the market conditions.  The price is determined by recent SOLD comparables in the area.  The costs of the appraisal is built into the lender fees and usually range $350 - $550.  As a buyer, you are not normally involved in the process and your lender will let you know when this process is completed.

So to summarize:  Home Inspection is for determining CONDITION

                            Appraisal is for determining VALUE

If you have any questions regarding inspections with regard to buying or selling a home in Harford County or the surrounding areas, please contact me for the names of reputable inspectors and appraisers in your area.



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