The Difference Between Home Inspectors vs. Home Appraisers


home inspectionsBuying or selling a home is a huge undertaking. Consulting with state certified home inspectors and appraisers can help you make smarter decisions about your home, but who is needed to approve what? The biggest mistake in people make when buying a home is never having it inspected. Although most home inspections run between $400 and $500, having your home inspected can help protect you from being financially liable for mechanical systems in your home that weren’t properly installed.

When buying a home, you will work with both a home inspector and an appraiser. They each assess the quality of the home in different ways:

Home Inspector

Most home buyers understand the importance of hiring a home inspector before they buy, but they may not realize that there can be a big difference in quality and professionalism from one home inspector to the next.

A home inspector thoroughly checks the property for structural and system problems that may need to be addressed before closing on your home. If any renovations or remodeling projects occurred, a home inspector will make sure components in a home are up to state code and that the proper permits were pulled during construction for any previous renovations or home projects.

Home Appraiser

When it comes to buying and selling a home or refinancing an existing mortgage, getting a home appraisal is one of the smartest steps you can take.

A home appraiser assesses the value of the home to find out if the agreed-upon price is reasonable for its location, size and condition. Renovations and remodeling projects that occurred after the last appraisal may be counted toward the new appraisal value of the home.

Getting A Home Appraisal

In most cases, your mortgage lender will choose the home appraiser. If the lender does allow you to choose your own appraiser, the results might be subject to review. The appraiser should always be an objective third party with no financial interest in the property. You do have a legal right to receive a copy of the finished report, but it might not be sent to you if you don’t request it.

home appraisal
Home Inspector Referrals

If you’re buying a home, your real estate agent will be able to give you the names of some local home inspectors, but you are not required to use these recommendations. You can also find home inspectors through friends and family or with an online search. Both the National Association of Home Inspectors and the American Society of Home Inspectors offer local search options.
Inspect the Inspector

importance of home inspectionsIt’s a good idea to interview at least three home inspectors before making a selection. Be prepared to ask about more than the cost of their service. Here are a few points to cover:

  • Find out how long the inspection will take, and let them know that you plan to shadow them during the process. A thorough inspection should take several hours, and a trustworthy home inspector will welcome your attendance.
  • Review a sample report. A comprehensive report should be 20 to 50 pages long and includes written observations and recommendations, in addition to a standard checklist.
  • Ask about the home inspector’s credentials and experience. Look for certification with a reputable organization such as NAHI or ASHI. Find out how long he or she has been doing home inspections and if it is their main line of work or a side job.
  • Ask if the home inspector carries errors and omissions insurance, and what that coverage entails. Having this insurance can save you a lot of money down the road if something is missed during your inspection.
    importance of home inspections
    Taking the time to find a trustworthy home inspector will give you peace of mind, help you uncover any potential problems and help you ensure everything is up to code in your home, or even your home-to-be.