Good question. The answer is fairly straight forward. Understanding why you need both of these when buying a home will help move the transaction along.
A home inspection is performed by an inspector, who can spend anywhere from 2 – 5 hours crawling all over the property looking for problems. They’re looking at the condition of the property and inspecting the different operating systems. Plumbing, HVAC, electrical, foundation, water intrusion, and the roof. Inspectors have their pet peeves. One inspector may concentrate more on the foundation and structural issues and the next is more focused on HVAC and the roof.
Some home inspections suggest the buyer hire a specific type of inspector (structural engineer, mold remediation, HVAC) to verify their suspicions. The potential need for additional inspections is a good reason for buyers to schedule the home inspection as soon as possible.
It’s normal for an inspector to chat with buyers during the inspection pointing out maintenance items and concerns. The final written report usually arrives (via email) noting all the conditions and problems the inspector discovered. The actual report can be a few pages or 50+ pages. It just depends on the inspector and the software program they’re using for the report.
Your Realtor® will review the report with you and formalize the written request for repairs. It’s between you and the seller to negotiate what gets fixed. Major problems like leaky roofs and broken furnaces are no-brainers. Sellers know they need to fix their problems. Repair requests get sticky when buyers want the home rebuilt or huge monetary compensation to update things.
The appraisal is an assessment of the home’s value. Typically your lender hires a third party to provide data supporting the property’s sale price. Appraisals compare the value and condition of the home compared to recently sold homes in your area. In the appraisal report, the appraiser lists the comparable properties adding or subtracting value on how your purchase stacks up.
The lender relies heavily on the appraiser’s valuation to back up the loan amount. Buyers need to understand the appraisal is done to protect the lender in case you default. They want to make sure they can sell the property and get their money!
The buyer also relies on the appraisal to validate the purchase price of the home. The appraisal can also be a smack in the head to sellers who sold in a day for thousands over asking price only to find the buyer(s) cannot secure financing. Appraisals have become somewhat tricky since the financial crisis.
The Home Inspection and Appraisal are integral to the home buying process. The results of both can make or break a real estate deal. Your Realtor® is a great source to help both buyers and sellers navigate the ups and downs of problematic reports.