What’s the difference between a home appraisal, inspection and evaluation?

What’s the difference between an appraisal, an inspection and an evaluation?

What’s the difference between an appraisal, an inspection and an evaluation?Q: What’s the difference between a home appraisal, an inspection and an evaluation?

A: A lot. They are done by different professionals, for different reasons, at different times, looking at different things and arriving at different conclusions.

Home appraisals, inspections and evaluations each play very important part in real estate transactions. All generate reports that can be used by both the buyer and the seller to establish value and set the price. Lenders require appraisals to make sure they don’t approve loans for more than the properties are worth. Buyers need inspections to ensure the house they are buying is sound. And realtors, sellers and buyers all need market evaluations to help set the market price for the house. Written reports are normally given for home appraisals, inspections and evaluations.



A real estate appraisal is an impartial analysis and evaluation conducted to determine value or a home. The appraisal is sometimes part of arranging mortgage financing and should be conducted as a mortgage condition. It may be done electronically or the appraiser may visit the home as part of the process. The appraiser will consider:

  • The age and size of the home
  • Construction materials
  • The condition of  the roof and the home’s  exterior
  • Plumbing and appliances
  • The number of bedrooms, bathrooms and closets
  • Type of energy used to heat and cool the home
  • Energy conservation features, such as solar panels
  • The condition of fences and decks
  • Building code compliance
  • The potential for expansion of expanding the home

Appraisers attempt to look at a home the way a buyer would, taking into consideration any visual flaws that might discourage a purchase. They also will consider the quality of its neighborhood and proximity to schools. The overall health of the local real estate market also will influence their evaluation.

It may seem that appraisals are thorough enough to eliminate the need for the buyer to pay for a home inspection. It’s true that inspectors evaluate many of the same items, but an appraiser normally does not itemize defects or make recommendations for fixing problems. They aren’t as concerned about structural integrity. The appraiser’s focus is on establishing a value for the property. A big part of their job is comparing the seller’s asking price to the price of similar homes that have sold in the in the neighborhood. These comparable sales are called comparables.


Home Inspection

A home inspection is a visual inspection of the components and the structure of a home. It is normally conducted at the buyers request and expense once the seller has accepted the buyer’s conditional offer. The inspection takes about 3 hours. The home inspector, the buyers and the buyers agent attend.

Inspectors crawl through attics and into crawl spaces to make sure there are no hidden problems that could become unpleasant surprises after the sale. Home inspectors examine all accessible areas. They evaluate both safety and the need for maintenance. At the end, buyers are given a detailed inspection report, you can make sure your offer is based on explaining the home’s assets and its flaws.

The home inspection is a professional opinion by a home inspector of the property’s condition. It is an independent, unbiased visual review and report on a home’s systems, components and conditions.



A home evaluation is like a home inspection and an appraisal combined. It is usually preformed by a realtor to help determine the market value of a home that his client would like to sell or a home his buyer would like to buy. The evaluation takes in the information about the local schools, and the neighborhood amenities, outlook, trends, traffic, shopping… It also, considers the age and state of repair of the home’s main components. Finally, it looks at the appeal of the house.
The home evaluation compares this home against similar homes currently on the market and similar homes recently sold. It is an opinion of value based on the realtors knowledge of what’s happening in the marketplace.



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