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Home appraisals: Understanding value for buyers, sellers


Whether you’re buying or refinancing your home, getting a home appraisal is crucial for securing a mortgage or determining the fair market value when buying or selling a property.


Real estate agents are not licensed appraisers. They can provide a comparative market analysis, which is different than a certified appraisal.


You can think of appraisers as the historians of the housing market. They rely mostly on past sales data of comparable properties — commonly called “comps” — to determine your home’s fair market value. Real estate agents factor in current market trends along with comps when figuring the best listing price for your property and are attuned to other factors such as buyer demand and inventory levels.

 Typically the buyer pays for the appraisal, though this may be negotiable between the buyer and seller. The cost varies depending on the property size, location and complexity of the appraisal.


Refinancing requires a new appraisal by a licensed appraiser to ensure the lender is issuing a loan based on the home’s current market value.


An appraiser can’t influence the market value of your home, but you can talk to the appraiser about things like upgrades and renovations that might not be reflected in public records. It’s helpful to have documentation for such improvements so the appraiser has a better understanding of them.


The licensed appraiser you choose will provide a detailed report listing the factors that went into the appraisal value and the comparable properties used to determine that value. The report gives you an understanding of the rationale behind the appraised value. If you believe your home is worth significantly more than the appraiser’s figure, you can request a reconsideration from them. In such cases, the report can help you identify potential areas for negotiation.


Having a qualified appraiser is critical. Your appraiser should have experience in your local area and with the type of property you’re buying or selling. Ask your real estate agent for their recommendations.


Understanding the appraisal empowers both buyers and sellers to make informed decisions. Appraisals assure a fair market price and protect all parties involved.

Kim Foemmel

Foemmel Fine Homes

1 Lumber Street, Suite 207C

Hopkinton, MA

(508) 808-1149

[email protected]

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