Should you pay for your own full appraisal before you buy a house?

We know the bank and the real estate company will do an appraisal so why should you? Well, we believe you should, as this is one of the biggest purchases of your life. You do not want any surprises. It is all very nice for a real estate agent to represent you and tell you what to do, as well as the bank, but they are not you. You have to take charge of your life. They are there to represent your best interests, but sometimes their own best interests sway them more than yours. This is why so many bad mortgages were written and so many people lost their homes by getting places that they couldn’t afford or were not worth what they paid. They all had agents and bankers representing them too. It is important that you do the extra research yourself, and make sure you are safe.

What kind of appraisal

There are many kinds of appraisals. There is a national organization of appraisers that cover them all professionally. A bank appraisal is usually a form appraisal and is colored by whether the bank wants to make a loan or not. Personally, we would like someone that is independent. We suggest getting a full appraisal that will bring a certified appraiser to the house you want to buy for a few hours. They will do a full detailed appraisal, which can include the value of the tree in the yard, all the way to every crack and ding in the hardwood floor. All of those things change the costs. Finding a crack in the foundation that nobody saw? It can change everything.

Don’t sign your life away

It’s all very nice to sign an agreement that says the buyer is not responsible for anything missed. You are signing your life away. How do you prove that he knew it had a cracked foundation, or massive termite damage, it’s almost impossible, and you just signed away your rights to get the money back? Having a full appraisal, and possible pest appraisal based on what your full appraiser suggests, is a way to head that off. If you know everything about the house, you have done as much as you can and there are no surprises to come haunt you later.

How much will it cost?

A simple form of appraisal might only cost $300 or a bit more. These are the appraisals the banks use. They are sometimes called comparative appraisals. Meaning they are also comparing the local housing. They will cover the basics, but they are not going to be crawling under the house. A full detailed appraisal can cost you $1000 and more. Depending on the market, it could cost you upwards of $2000+.

Isn’t it wasting money?

It might seem like wasting money, as there is already an appraisal, but we do not believe so. As they say, an ounce of prevention beats a pound of cure. If you are spending a few hundred thousand dollars on a house, isn’t it worth spending a thousand to have full knowledge of what things are worth and every flaw that you might have missed? You can also use this as leverage to lower the price should you find that they have sugar coated things a bit. The only person you can trust is yourself, so always get an unbiased opinion.

Don’t share that you are having it appraised

Don’t tell anyone that you are getting it appraised until you make the appointment for the appraiser to review the house. Then it’s a done deal. Most real estate people, as well as banks, will probably try and talk you out of it. They will say its wasted money, and you don’t need it. Making a mistake on purchasing a house can change your whole life. It would be like saying a second opinion for a life-threatening illness is a waste of money. Just do it. You do not have to show the appraisal to anyone, you can choose to keep it to yourself, but, if something is wrong, it will give you empirical proof and let you negotiate. As you are paying, you only need to show it if it’s in your best interest.

We believe that for anything that is going to impact your life, that you always get a second unbiased opinion. When we have done large business deals before, we have paid for background checks on the players. It costs money, but overall, it has saved us more money by far than it costs. Spending a thousand to make sure you are not making a mistake is well worth it. If you can’t afford to spend a thousand, or even a couple of thousand to get an appraisal of the house then you are buying a house that is too expensive for you. Nuff said.

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