Home Appraisals

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Before purchasing, selling or refinancing a house, a home appraisal is carried out. Home, property, and mortgage appraisal are the three immediate terms that a person will stumble upon.

A home appraisal is a licensed or certified appraiser's opinion of a home and its value. The appraisal is based on the sale of comparable properties around a particular area, an analysis of the property and the appraiser's judgment.

The mortgage lender requires an appraisal to help gauge the loan risk of making a loan. The property in this case serves as collateral for the instance if a borrower defaults. In this scenario, the lender wants to make sure the loan isn’t greater than the value of the property.

Here, we will understand the meaning of these terms and establish their applicability in the house transaction by extensively discussing home appraisal: its process, types, cost and tips.

Mortgage Calculators

What is a Home Appraisal?

An appraisal refers to an unbiased professional's opinion delivering the value of a house. It is a tool that determines the house's value in the market when purchasing, selling a house or doing mortgage refinancing. Home Appraisal is the definite answer to all home transaction problems. A home appraisal is necessary for home buyers because it strikes a balance between the appraised value and the contract price.

In the case of a home seller, a home appraisal provides a price at which the house should be listed. The lender's mortgage refinancing depends upon the appraisal of the previous mortgage. A home appraisal can be better understood with the help of an example.

For instance, a family finds their perfect house in Ontario, Canada, for CAD 594,000. They go to a bank with the hopes of raising a mortgage. The bank hires an appraiser who determines the house's value to be CAD 554,500 based on the neighborhood and the house's condition. The buyer negotiates the price with the seller and lands on CAD 560,000. The buyer pays the appraiser's fees of CAD 400 and gets sanctioned a loan of the appraised value. The transaction of the house takes place with all parties satisfied.

From the above example, we understand that if the appraised value and the list price differ, the parties involved may land on a mutual understanding. Also, home appraisal is an essential tool for both sellers and buyers.

Factors Affecting Home Appraisal

Home Appraisers look for several factors when appraising a home. The factors affecting a home appraisal include both interior and exterior factors. Given below are some of such factors:

  • Plot Size
  • Neighbourhood
  • Type of driveway
  • Number of rooms
  • Number of bathrooms
  • Fitting and fixtures
  • Foundation
  • Appliances and other amenities
  • Utilities
  • Basement style
  • The material used on floors, walls etc

How does the Home Appraisal Process Work?

The home appraisal process is carried out once the home acquisition is completed. This is done before the lender sanctions a mortgage. The bank will hire an appraiser who will weigh all the factors and provide a report, after which the bank will sanction the loan. The lender needs to carry out this process to assess the credit risk. The buyer will pay the fees of the appraiser.

Types of Home Appraisals

Home Appraisal can differ from each person's perspective. There are three types of home appraisals, as given below:

Appraisals for Home Buyers

When it comes to buying a house, home appraisals become a vital part. Home appraisal in the case of a home buyer is the process of putting the correct value on the house. The appraised value, if it ranks higher than the contract price, then the transaction satisfies both the parties involved. However, if the appraisal value exceeds the contract price, the two parties can negotiate and reduce the cost. However, a seller might not reduce the price. Unfortunately for the buyer, the bank will not provide a loan more significant than the house's appraised value.

Appraisal for Home Sellers

A home appraisal provides the correct value of the house the seller is making available in the market. The appraiser compares the price of the seller's house to the other homes in the market. This tool becomes essential when selling a house because if the seller gets the property appraisal done after putting it on the market, and the appraised value is low then the seller will have to reduce the price or get a second appraisal. However, in the case of an all-cash transaction, the need for a home appraisal is no longer required but may stretch the sales process.

Appraisal for Mortgage Refinancing

Mortgage refers to using a loan to procure and maintain a house, property or any other real estate asset. When the borrower replaces their last loan with a new loan, this process is referred to as mortgage refinancing. When a person gets their mortgage refinanced, the need for mortgage appraisal arises. Suppose the review turns out to be lower than the previous mortgage. In that case, the borrower will be prevented from getting a new mortgage because the lenders keep the home as collateral while sanctioning loans and if its value decreases, then the risk factor increases. In Canada, a reverse mortgage also requires a home appraisal.

Cost of a Home Appraisal

The cost to carry out the process of home appraisal in Canada usually ranges between CAD 300 - CAD 500 plus HST but it can also go beyond CAD 500 plus HST. The cost varies from province to province. A buyer is liable to pay the appraisal fees of the unbiased professional hired by the lender.

The cost of a home appraisal is calculated using three approaches. They are as given below:

  • The first approach compares the buyer's property to those other properties in the market labeled 'for sale', 'didn't sell' or 'sold'.
  • The second approach to appraisal calculates the cost that would incur if the property were to be regenerated. The amounts of wear and tear are reduced.
  • The last approach calculates the income the property would generate.

The first approach is the most expensive one. The lender is suggested to hire a Canadian Residential Appraiser, governed by the Appraisers Institute of Canada to carry out the process.

What if I Disagree with My Home Appraisal?

A home appraisal is an essential tool when it comes to the worth of the house. This value delivered by a trained and experienced appraiser may turn out to be wrong or below a person's expectations. However, it is entirely an opinion of a person which the homeowner can challenge. One will need to have substantial evidence proving the worth of the house.

The homeowner can write a letter of appeal to the lender mentioning if the appraiser missed any of the rooms or miscalculated the plot size or perhaps they omitted the information on the swimming pool.

The homeowner can also make a case where they can suggest that the factors were altered, such as the appraiser factored in the inferior neighborhood, the comparables were distressed, or any negative externality was reported.

Tips to Get A Higher Home Appraised Value

Who doesn't want to get a higher home or property appraisal? The list below will help you achieve the same very quickly:

  • List All Features:You should prepare a list of all benefits and features involving your house for the appraiser.
  • Remember the Rule:Appraisers usually appraise in a series of CAD 500. Perhaps, if they find your door is cracked or the flush is broken, the amount reduced will be CAD 500 even if the actual amount should've been CAD 400. Get your home fixed before getting an appraisal done.
  • Spring Cleaning:A house with an elegant kitchen or a well-scented bathroom will fetch as good of an appraisal value as a clean carpet or dusted mantelpiece. Before the home appraisal is done, clean your home as if it were a spring cleaning project.
  • Provide a Sales Sheet:The appraiser compares your home to other properties in the market, available for sale or have been sold or didn't sell. The information used by the appraisers can be a bit rusty, which is why you should compare the changing property values and provide a sales sheet with the updated data.
  • Renovating within the Budget:The seller must renovate the property so that it doesn't give a heart attack to their budget. Getting walls painted, carpets changed or cleaned, and improving lighting goes a long way in getting a higher home appraisal value.

Who Pays for the Home Appraisal?

The lender is responsible for hiring a home appraisal expert but the buyer bears the cost. The cost differs from city to city and ranges from CAD 300 to CAD 500 exclusive of the taxes. The payee of the home appraisal also depends on the buyer's choice for the mortgage. The big five banks in Canada and some mortgage brokers often pay the appraisal cost.

Home Appraisal vs. Refinance Home Appraisal

Home appraisal and refinance home appraisal have layers of difference between them. They are:

  • Home appraisal refers to the determination of the market value of a house on the market whereas refinance home appraisal refers to the decision of the correct value for your house.
  • Home appraisals become mandatory when going for refinancing. However, refinance home appraisal isn't a requirement in a few cases.
  • There is a loss of a sales price and a contract in refinancing home appraisal as the appraiser is working with the homeowner. As far as a home appraisal is concerned, there will always be a sales price and a contract.


Ans: If a person's home appraisal is low then by opting for a few simple techniques the home appraisal value can be increased. Techniques like deep cleaning the home, fixing any broken items, providing the appraiser with a sales sheet, and listing all home features will increase your home appraisal.

Ans: A home appraisal refers to the process of determining the value of a person's house by an unbiased professional. This process usually takes 10-14 days and begins as soon as the buyer and the lender have agreed on a price.

Ans: Yes, there is a difference between an appraisal and an inspection. An appraisal refers to the determination of the property's fair market price and is hired by the lender. In contrast, an inspection refers to the process of understanding the property's condition and can be employed by an individual.

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Table of Content

  • What is a Home Appraisal?
  • Factors Affecting Home Appraisal
  • How does the Home Appraisal Process Work?
  • Types of Home Appraisals
  • Cost of a Home Appraisal
  • What if I Disagree with My Home Appraisal?
  • Tips to Get A Higher Home Appraised Value
  • Who Pays for the Home Appraisal?
  • Home Appraisal vs. Refinance Home Appraisal