Calvin Law's Blog
Home appraisals are an important part of the buying and selling process. Lenders use appraisals to make sure that the home is worth what the borrower is paying. A home’s appraisal value is based on a number of factors, all of which we’ll discuss in this post.
Whether you’re a buyer, seller, or are just learning about the process of buying a home so you’ll be better equipped in the future, this article is for you.
How is a home appraisal different from an inspection?
While home appraisals and inspections are performed by licensed or certified professionals, they have to different functions. An inspection ensures the safety of a home, as well as whether or not it will need repairs in the immediate or near future.
Appraisals, on the other hand, aim to value a home based on its property value, the size of the property, and the location of the property. The condition of the home is a factor in valuing a home, which is why some people confused appraisals with inspections.
Who pays for appraisals?
Like most closing costs, a home appraisal is a burden that falls on the buyer. Typically, the lender you choose will work with will actually order the appraisal. The cost, which usually amounts to a few hundred dollars, can be added to your closing fees. You can find the cost for an appraisal listed on the Closing Disclosure document provided by your chosen lender.
Which factors determine the home’s value?
To appraise the house itself, appraisers will look at the condition of the home. They’ll also weigh the features of the home in their valuation--things like the number of bedrooms and bathrooms, for example.
However, the two key characteristics of a home that contribute to its value are its age and size.
Which external factors contribute to the home’s value?
As you might suspect, the location of your home matters greatly when it comes to appraisals. Homes are appraised based off of average prices for their neighborhood and region.
Other location factors include how accessible the home is, if it’s located on a waterfront, and whether it has desirable views.
When does a home get appraised?
While your experience may vary based on your specific circumstances, most appraisals occur after a buyer has signed a purchase contract. One this is done, the lender will take the steps necessary to order and process the appraisal.
How long is the home appraisal process?
Once the buyer has signed a purchase contract, the appraisal is usually completed and processed within 7 days. The appraisal report will be sent to the lender. This report contains the appraised value of the home. Buyers are entitled to a copy of this report, and should keep one for their own records.
Let's face it – homebuyers often face intense pressure. In many instances, dozens of homebuyers may compete for the same residence. And if you don't act quickly, you risk missing out on your dream house to a rival homebuyer.
Believe it or not, it sometimes can be beneficial to take a wait and see approach to buying a house. Some of the key reasons for homebuyers to consider deploying a wait and see approach include:
1. You can determine exactly what you want in your dream house.
Differentiating between must-haves and wants can be tough, particularly for homebuyers who are shopping for residences for the first time. Fortunately, if you take a slow, gradual approach to homebuying, you can view a variety of residences and narrow your search accordingly.
Oftentimes, homebuyers can benefit from attending open houses and getting a firsthand look at myriad residences. Each open house provides an opportunity to analyze a home, review its pros and cons and determine whether a residence is right for you. As such, homebuyers can attend many open houses to better understand what they want from a dream residence.
2. You can get your finances in order.
Although you know you want to buy a house, getting your finances in order may prove to be hassle. Luckily, homebuyers who implement a wait and see approach can find a mortgage that matches their finances perfectly.
Ideally, a homebuyer should meet with several banks and credit unions and explore all of the mortgage options at his or her disposal. During each meeting with a mortgage lender, a homebuyer can receive expert insights into many mortgage options.
A homebuyer may want to get pre-approved for a mortgage as well. If a homebuyer embarks on a search for the right mortgage today, this individual can move closer to entering the housing market with a budget in hand and simplifying his or her home search.
3. You can find the perfect real estate agent.
Ultimately, the real estate agent that you select may dictate the success of your quest to find your dream residence. If you allocate the necessary time and resources to hire a hardworking and experienced real estate agent, you should have no trouble streamlining your home search. On the other hand, if you rush to hire the first real estate agent that you meet, you risk making the wrong choice.
When it comes to finding the perfect real estate agent, it pays to be patient. By spending some time learning about various real estate agents in your area, you can select a top-notch housing market professional to guide you along the homebuying journey.
Lastly, don't forget to select a real estate agent who is available to respond to any homebuying concerns and questions, at any time. With this housing market professional at your side, you can boost your chances of discovering your ideal residence.
There is no need to rush to find your dream home. Instead, take a wait and see approach to buying a house, and you may reap the benefits of your decision for years to come.
Buying a home is a very detail-oriented process, and there's a lot of important things you can overlook if you're not organized.
Home buyers generally have the opportunity to do a last-minute inspection of the premises to make sure everything's up to standards prior to closing on the property.
A real estate buyer's agent can accompany you on the final inspection or provide you with advice on what to look for.
If you've already visited the home a couple times and had the house professionally inspected, you're probably well-acquainted with any major malfunctions, flaws, or repair issues. In many cases, home buyers may reach an agreement with the seller to fix, replace, or make allowances for mechanical or cosmetic problems. While real estate negotiations and sales agreements are as varied as the people and properties involved, there are typically dozens of things buyers need to check on before they sign the final documents and accept ownership of the property.
Final Walkthrough Tips
As you're doing the final walk-through of the house, it's necessary to remember or have notes on the condition of the home when you last looked at it. You'll also want to have a clear idea of what appliances, fixtures, and window treatments are supposed to be remain in the house after it's been vacated by the seller. Depending on how close your final walk-through is to the actual closing, that has probably already happened.
If there's anything missing that the seller agreed to include in the sale, then that's an issue you'll want to discuss with your real estate agent or attorney. Any property damage that may have resulted from moving furniture and other belongings should also be discussed before final papers are signed. The same thing would apply to landscaping changes that appear to be inconsistent with the sales agreement. Your buyer's agent and/or lawyer can serve as intermediary in getting these issues clarified and ironed out.
To make sure your final inspection is thorough, it's a good idea to have a "final walk-through checklist" to help keep you organized and focused. You'll want to take a last-minute inventory of items that are supposed to be included with the property sale, such as appliances, lighting fixtures, furnishings, window treatments, children's play structures, hot tubs, and anything else that was agreed to in the sales contract.
Other items you'll need access to may include garage door openers, manuals for appliances and mechanical systems, warranties, invoices for repairs made, and remote control devices for things like ceiling fans, alarms, and other systems.
Your checklist and final walkthrough should focus on a variety of items, including the working condition of appliances, the electrical system, plumbing fixtures, and the condition of walls, floors, ceilings, doors, windows, and landscaping features. For a complete checklist, look online or consult your real estate agent.
Buying a home will likely be the most important and expensive purchase you ever make. And, although that might seem like a scary commitment, it’s one well worth it. It’s an investment in your future. There are many benefits or perks that come with owning a home.
Equity: Owning your own home typically comes with gaining equity. Every month that you pay your mortgage, you are increasing your equity. And as long as the market continue upwards, your home and the equity you’ve gained will hold significant value.
Privacy: Privacy is a large perk of owning your own home. This is more so possible when owning a single-family home in a rural location, but many duplexes and condos also provide opportunities for privacy. And in many cases, since you own the home,you can put up your own privacy such as planting arborvitae trees along your properties edge.
Tax Advantages: One of the biggest perks when owning a home is the ability to deduct mortgage interest on your federal income taxes. This will be a significant amount for the first few years of your mortgage, making this a huge benefit. Although, the amount of interest paid decreases over the years, there will still be deductible interest paid in the last few years of your mortgage.
Space: Houses will almost always provide you with more space than an apartment—and it will certainly have more space than your childhood bedroom. The space will be all yours, which means not having to share with other renters or your parents. Of course, home location and the market come into play here, but for the most part you will get more square footage for your money—as landlords charge high rents to cover things like water, electricity, snow removal, or still charge high rent prices and do not cover any of those other expenses.
No restrictions: There are many restrictions that come with renting or living in a condominium. These restrictions could include no pets, parking restrictions, outdoor updating restrictions and many other different types of constraints. When you own your own home, you make the rules. If you want to put up a fence, you can. And if you want to put an addition on your house, you can do that too. Just be sure to check with your town before beginning any construction projects.
Establishment: Buying a home provides you the ability to set down roots, to be established. Although, not a benefit to some, it is to many. Buying a home provides you with ownership and a sense of freedom. You now have the opportunity to invest in something that is yours. You can make updates to the bathrooms, add a pool in the backyard, and paint the front door any color you want—because it’s yours.
A home is often the foundation of one’s life and who can deny its appeal with these perks discussed above? So, what are you waiting for? Start your search today!
Applying for a mortgage may seem like a long, stressful process at first. Fortunately, we're here to help you take the guesswork out of submitting a mortgage application.
Now, let's take a look at three tips to help you streamline the mortgage application process.
1. Ask Questions
A bank or credit union likely will ask you to provide a wide range of information as part of the mortgage application cycle. And as you complete a mortgage application, you may have questions along the way too.
Remember, a lender is happy to help you in any way possible. If you ever have concerns or questions as you complete a mortgage application, you should reach out to a lender for expert support. That way, you can reduce the risk of potential problems down the line that otherwise could slow down the mortgage application process.
Even a single mistake on a mortgage application may prevent you from getting a mortgage. Perhaps even worse, a delayed mortgage application may force you to miss out on an opportunity to acquire your dream house. But if you reach out to a lender as you complete your mortgage application, you can gain the insights you need to quickly and effortlessly finalize the necessary documentation to obtain a mortgage.
2. Be Thorough
A mortgage application may require you to look back at your financial and employment histories and provide information that a lender will use to determine whether to approve or deny your submission. Meanwhile, you should be ready to provide a lender with any requested information to ensure a seamless application process.
As a homebuyer, it is your responsibility to include accurate information on your mortgage application. In fact, failure to do so may cause a lender to reject your mortgage application. If you allocate the necessary time and resources to dot every I and cross every T on your mortgage application, you can boost the likelihood of a fast approval.
3. Shop Around
For homebuyers, it is crucial to check out all of the mortgage options that are available. If you meet with a variety of banks and credit unions, you can review myriad mortgage options and select a mortgage that complements your finances.
Banks and credit unions generally provide a broad array of fixed- and adjustable-rate mortgages. If you learn about all of the mortgage options at your disposal, you can find one that enables you to purchase your dream house without breaking your budget.
Of course, once you are approved for a mortgage and are ready to launch your house search, you may want to hire a real estate agent as well. A real estate agent will offer plenty of guidance at each stage of the homebuying journey. In addition, a real estate agent can make it easy for you to find a top-notch residence at a budget-friendly price in any housing market, at any time.
Start the mortgage application process today, and you can move one step closer to acquiring your dream residence.