Home Appraisel

If you’re looking to refinance a mortgage or buy a home through a loan, the lender will need what’s called an appraisal on the home. This is an objective assessment of the value of the home. Something of great importance to a lender considering this is their collateral on loan. Whether you’re a buyer or seller, it will help you immensely to understand how the appraisal process works. Here you’ll find everything you need to know about home appraisals in NYC and how they work.

What do home appraisals involve?

The job of an appraiser is similar to a home inspector but differs in some respects. The appraiser will look through the home, considering the land it’s on as well as other things to arrive at an estimate of the properties market value. Everything, whether big or small, will be taken into account. It will then be compared with like-kind properties that sold in the past 12 months to arrive at a final appraisal price.

What goes into a home appraisal?

Even if a buyer loves a place and is fine with the price, the lender will still require that a third party – in the form of an appraiser – take a look at it to determine its value. To arrive at an accurate estimate of the home’s value, they will look at every area of the property. This includes all of the following:

  • The exterior of the Home – the appraiser will look at every part of the construction. This consists of the foundation, roof, and walls, looking for any problems that could lower its value.
  • Size of the Property – the value of a home depends a great deal on the size of the square feet and lot. The more rooms and bathrooms bring a higher valuation. Knowing the floor area (FAR) of the property will tell you whether or not it has space for extensions which factors into its market value.
  • Condition – just like the exterior, the interior of the home will be looked at closely. This includes the flooring, kitchen, plumbing, electrical, lighting and plumbing components of the home.
  • Improvements – if any new additions have been made to the original construction this will also be factored in. A new bathroom or HAVC system can add many more years of life to the property which pushes the value higher.

Who is the appraisal information available to?

The information and final verdict gathered by the appraiser is entirely at the disposal of the one who ordered it, in most cases the lender. It is entirely at their discretion how this information is distributed, regardless of who paid for it. However, if the buyer orders the appraisal, the lender is required by law to provide them with a copy.

How long is an appraisal valid for?

In most cases, an appraisal is valid for six months. However, market prices can change fast so a lender may only consider an appraisal valid for no more than three months in some cases. Sometimes an appraisal will need to be recertified if it’s considered out of date. Any changes, both to the market and the property, can drastically affect its price.

As such, it’s often better than a seller does not get an appraisal as a way to justify the asking price. The buyer’s lender will still want to see their one from an independent source.


Appraisals are a standard part of any real estate purchase that requires mortgage financing. Understanding how they work will make the buying process, for both the buyer and seller much easier. If you’re a seller, especially for a townhouse, expect to be dealing with this when a potential buyer shows up.


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