5 min read May 16, 2024

Home Appraisal Checklist: What You Need to Know

One study found that a surprising 74% of home sale transactions fell through as a result of the appraised value. This indicates that preparing for a home appraisal is one of the most crucial steps in buying a house.

To ensure that all your bases are covered, you need a home appraisal checklist. It helps you understand what to look for when getting your dream home appraised.

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🔍 Home appraisal Key points

  • The average cost of a home appraisal across the US ranges from $400 to $600.
  • According to NAR, the average cost of a home appraisal for a single-family home is $500.
  • Appraisers deduct $500 from the appraised value for each flaw they find.

What Appraisers Look For?

A home appraisal is an assessment of a property that determines its fair market value. Whereas, home appraisers are licensed and highly trained individuals who understand the real estate market and fairly evaluate the property.

Home appraisers are well-versed in most local markets. To provide an accurate property estimate value, they compare recently sold (within 6 months) properties in your locality. They also look for real estate comparables, or “comps”.

Home Appraisal Checklist

Here’s a list of what an appraiser looks for:

Home ConditionRoof
Foundation
Plumbing
Lighting
Fencing
Basement
Home SizeLot Size
Square Footage
No. of Bedrooms & Bathrooms
Zoning Classification
ExteriorPool
Landscaping
Yard Space
    ✍️ These are some of the points from a home appraisal checklist. The list can include more checks, depending on your property type and the appraiser.

Conventional Loan Home Appraisal Checklist

Conventional loans have a huge market share, as most first-time home buyers opt for them. Moreover, it has a standard checklist for home appraisals. It follows the same checklist as mentioned above.

However, the appraiser may look for more details like appliances, granite countertops, etc. The appraiser’s opinion may differ based on the property’s condition, upgrades, and cosmetic updates.

USDA and FHA Home Appraisal Checklist

The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) backs FHA home loans. Whereas the U.S. Department of Agriculture grants USDA loans. Both of them require special conditions and checks for mortgage approval.

Here’s the list of checks included, especially for the USDA and FHA home appraisal checklist:

  • Handrails alongside steps and stairways
  • Lead-based paint jobs (mostly for properties built before 1978)
  • Chipping or flaking of paint
  • Replacement of roof every 2 years with a report
  • Termites evidence

VA Home Appraisal Checklist

The Department of Veterans Affairs provides VA loans to veterans. For VA homes, you require a VA-authorized appraiser. There are various conditions VA home appraisals require before they approve a loan.

Here’s the checklist of items that are strictly included in the VA home appraisal:

  • Functioning of the sewer system
  • Pest inspection
  • Notice of Value (NOV) lists the home value and repairs needed
  • Water stains
  • Absence of wiring
  • Functioning of a water heater

How Long Does a Home Appraisal Take?

Home appraisals can take 20 minutes to 2 hours. It generally depends on the size of the property and the home appraisal checklist. During the process, the appraiser documents every detail and takes photographs to prepare a final report.

The home appraisal report may take a week or more to complete, as the appraiser writes all the findings for the mortgage lenders. The whole appraisal process can take up to a month in the active market.

How Do I Prepare for a Home Appraisal?

To prepare for an appraisal, you have to go through the appraiser checklist. You have to keep all the systems in operation. Before an appraisal, you will go through a home inspection. In this, you will get to know the repairs you need to make.

Additionally, you can also improve your curb appeal, declutter your house, and fix broken furniture, doors, and windows.

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The $500 Rule

All the appraisers follow the $500 rule. This means an increment of $500 for each check during the valuation. It is better to consider every repair, as a minor flaw can deduct $500, and this can pile up to thousands of dollars.

How Much Does an Appraisal Cost?

The homebuyer covers the appraisal costs; if the property is under refinance, the homeowner pays it upfront. The cost of the home appraisal varies depending on the locality, lender, and loan type.

You can expect it to cost anywhere between $400 and $600 on average. Here’s a list of the appraisal costs according to the loan types.

Loan TypeAppraisal Cost
VA Loan $400 to $1,200
FHA Loan $300 to $600
USDA Loan$600 to $750
Conventional Loan$500 to $650

The Bottom Line

Home appraisal is quite important when buying a new property as well as for refinancing. You can prepare for it if you go through the checklist before applying for the appraisal.

Most of the lenders require home appraisals to approve the mortgage. But finding a professional appraiser in the active market can be tough. Houzeo can help you with that. Through its “Pros” feature, you can find a home appraiser in your locality.

» Need More Clarity? Read these exclusive Houzeo reviews and learn why the platform is the best in America’s competitive housing market

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Frequently Asked Questions

What's included in a VA appraisal checklist?

The appraiser appointed by the VA will check all essential systems, appliances, and structural elements of your home. Look at our full VA appraisal checklist to learn more.

How much does home appraisal cost?

Home appraisals cost anywhere between $400-$600. The costs depend on the size and location of the property as well as the relative complexity of the home appraisal checklist.

How long does home appraisal take?

A home appraisal can take anywhere from 30 minutes to a couple of hours, depending on the property size.

Do I need a home appraisal?

Mortgage lenders require a home appraisal before they approve a loan. While it is possible to avoid home appraisals in some cases, we don't recommend it. An evaluation can help ensure the property is valued accurately.

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