How much is home appraisal in California? Well, that depends on several factors! The best way to know the costs is to contact an appraiser directly and get a quote from them. However, most homeowners and homebuyers want to have an idea before they contact an appraiser, just to ensure they can plan their budget accordingly.
We provide a detailed guideline to help you understand the approximate costs involved.
What is a Home Appraisal?
A home appraisal is a visual assessment of the property to determine its current value. A qualified appraiser will look at your home’s condition and consider factors like location, size, neighborhood, market conditions, and more before preparing a report.
A qualified appraiser is an unbiased party and will provide the most accurate appraisal based on a number of factors. The appraisal cost in California depends on how many items are on the appraiser’s checklist. Different appraisers have different approaches to this assessment.
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Types of Home Appraisals
There are different types of appraisals available to homeowners and buyers today. In most cases, a mortgage lender will require a traditional comprehensive assessment but it is a good idea to be aware of the options.
1. Desktop Appraisal
This is a very basic type of appraisal that doesn’t even involve a visual inspection of your property. The appraiser will look at the data available publically about your property, its neighborhood, recent sales in the area, and other relevant factors to come up with an estimate. A desktop appraisal only costs around $75 to $200, which makes it a cheaper alternative to other options. Many mortgage lenders will not accept this evaluation but it is a good way to determine your home’s value in advance.
2. Drive-By Appraisal
A drive-by appraisal has become popular in recent years. It involves a visual assessment, even if the appraiser doesn’t actually step into your property. The appraiser will rely on the information they collect from available data and the visual inspection to come up with an estate value. This isn’t considered a comprehensive evaluation, so mortgage lenders will not accept it. However, this type of appraisal can be used for refinancing, line of credit, or foreclosure. They cost around $100 to $150, which makes them very affordable.
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3. Hybrid Home Appraisal
This model has become very popular in recent years because it is very efficient. It involves two people; one enters the property and does a full visual inspection. The other analyzes the data collected by the first appraiser and compares it to comp values before preparing a report. While most mortgage lenders don’t accept this form of appraisal, many have started to. It can cost anywhere between $250 and $375.
4. Traditional Appraisal
This is the most comprehensive assessment and it provides the most accurate estimate of the property value. The process involves a full visual inspection of the property. The appraiser will walk through the property and make note of all concerns. They will also collect the data available, including recent sales of similar properties in the area, to get an approximate value of your home. A full appraisal can cost anywhere between $375 to $1,200, depending on the type of loan and property you have.
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How Much is a Home Appraisal in California?
As we have mentioned before, the cost of an appraisal in California can depend on several unique factors. Let’s look at some estimates so you have a clear idea:
1. Average Costs
The average cost of home appraisal in California is around $335 to $450. This depends on your location in California and on factors like property size, loan type, and appraisal checklist complexity.
2. Conventional Loan
If you’re applying for a conventional loan from a private California mortgage lender, you may need to pay around $335 to $450 for the appraisal. Private lenders require a basic checklist and the evaluation process is straightforward.
3. FHA Loan
FHA and government-backed loans have specific requirements, which is why the appraisal costs can be a bit higher. On average, you can expect to pay anywhere between $400 and $1,000 for a home appraisal in California if you’re applying for an FHA or USDA loan.
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4. VA Loan
The Department of Veteran Affairs also has some specific requirements. If you’re applying for a VA loan, you will need to hire a VA-approved appraiser and spend anywhere between $600 to $850 for a comprehensive assessment.
5. Single-Family and Condo
The cost of appraisal in California will also depend on the size and type of property. You can expect to pay around $318.35 to $504.06 to get a single-family home or a condo appraised. Professionals usually charge an hourly rate for larger and more complex properties. For example, appraising a large ranch in California may cost as much as $3,000.
» Home Appraisal Checklist: Get an idea about what’s included in a home appraisal checklist so you can be better prepared.
Home Appraisal Fees by Size
Size also plays a role when calculating the appraisal fee in California. The bigger your house is, the higher the appraisal fee. We have some approximate estimates of how much you need to pay depending on the size of the property.
- 1200 sq ft: $250-$350
- 1400 sq ft: $325-$425
- 1700 sq ft: $375-$500
- 2000 sq ft: $425-$525
- 2500 sq ft: $500-$600
» How to Prepare for Home Appraisal: If you have a big property, ensuring it is ready for an appraisal can be overwhelming. We have some tips for you.
Who Pays for Home Appraisal?
It depends on who is ordering the appraisal. If a mortgage lender is ordering it, the buyer will have to pay for the home appraisal in California. If the seller wants to get their property appraised before a sale, they will have to pay for the process. Sometimes a buyer may negotiate with the seller to cover these expenses, but that’s not always the case.
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How to Find a Home Appraiser in California?
Finding a reliable home appraiser in California isn’t very difficult. You can simply search online and pick the highest-ranked appraiser available. You can look at our ‘home appraisers near me‘ page to find a few certified professionals in your area as well. There are a few things to keep in mind when picking an appraiser:
- Make sure they are licensed or certified.
- Look at reviews to ensure they are unbiased and won’t favor any party.
- Check with the local BBB to determine how trustworthy the private appraiser is.
- If you are applying for a VA loan, you will need a VA-approved home appraiser.
A good appraiser will provide a straightforward and accurate valuation of the property so you can make an informed decision.
The average California home appraisal cost is between $335 to $450 for traditional, full-scale appraisals. You can consult with your lender or top real estate agents in CA to determine which type of appraisal is a good choice for you. We recommend a traditional appraisal because it provides the most accurate valuation.
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Frequently Asked Questions
1. When should I get my home appraised?
If you intend to sell your property, we recommend getting an appraisal before placing it on the market. That will ensure you can price your property accurately.
2. Why is my house appraisal so low?
Several factors can lead to a low appraisal like home condition, neighborhood, the state of the local real estate market, and more. We recommend doing your own research to determine whether the valuation is according to the market trends in your neighborhood. You can also get a second opinion.
3. Can I get a home appraisal for free?
You may be able to get a basic desktop appraisal for free. Some homeowners conduct their own research into market and comp data to determine their property's value. While this can help you save money, the estimate may not be very accurate.
4. How long is my appraisal valid for?
Your appraisal is valid for around 90 days. If the appraisal is too old, the lender will request a fresh one to ensure the valuation is up to current market standards.
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