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When buying a home, there is the seller’s asking price, and then there is the actual price value as determined by an appraiser. An appraiser determines the value of a home. They do this by walking through the home, examining the exterior, recording the layout of the home, checking any amenities such as a pool or built in bar, and note and health or safety violations.
It is important to be sure that your appraiser is qualified. Usually, a lender will choose an appraiser for you. The appraiser should be state-licensed or have another certification of equal value. Your lender will most likely also be the one who hires the appraiser because he has hired appraisers in the past and knows who is best.
Usually whoever is taking the loan pays for the appraisal. However, in some cases when a seller wants to use an appraisal to support her asking price, she may pay for the appraisal.
The actual appraisal usually only takes an hour or two. It is important to get an appraisal not only so you know what your home is worth, but also because it can help you get your loan approval.