Home Inspection or Appraisal: What's the Difference?
ASHI Sets the Record Straight for Homeowners and Buyers
- A home inspection is not the same as an appraisal
- What's covered in a home inspection report
- Inspections can save time and money whether moving or staying
Des Plaines, Ill. (May 18, 2010) - According to the National Association of Realtors (NAR), existing-home sales jumped 6.8 percent in March after three straight months of declines, with first-time homebuyers accounting for 44 percent of existing-home purchases. In preparing to finalize their purchase, these new homeowners will be forced to learn what might seem like a confusing language. The American Society of Home Inspectors (ASHI) educates homeowners and buyers alike that while both an appraisal and an inspection are vital, they are different and neither should serve as a substitution for the other.
An appraisal assesses the market value of a home. Typically, a bank requires an appraisal when approving a loan for either the purchase of a home or the refinancing of an existing loan. This process is often mistaken by the homeowner as a home inspection. While an appraisal confirms the home's market value to ensure the lender is not over-insuring the property, it is not intended to provide a thorough assessment of the overall condition and safety of the home.
According to The Federal Housing Administration (FHA), the lender conducts an appraisal to estimate the value of a house, to make certain the house meets FHA minimum property standards and is marketable. However, during a home inspection a qualified inspector takes a detailed look at the physical structure and systems of a house, from the roof to the foundation. The average time taken to conduct an appraisal is merely a fraction of the time it takes a certified home inspector to perform an inspection of the same house.
Unlike an appraisal, an ASHI home inspector's report will examine the condition of the home's:
- Heating system
- Central air conditioning system (temperature permitting)
- Interior plumbing and electrical systems
- Roof, attic and visible insulation
- Walls, ceilings, floors, windows and doors
- Foundation, basement and structural components
ASHI reminds homeowners that a home purchase is not the only time to consider scheduling a home inspection. Even if you plan to remain in your home for several years, the benefits of a home inspection are invaluable. Homeowners should schedule a maintenance inspection every three to five years to identify problems before they become costly repairs. A home inspection can also help homeowners identify potential issues as part of a major remodeling or renovation project.
"Even as the economy begins to bounce back, it is still so important for homeowners to plan ahead and protect their investment," said David Tamny, ASHI president." A basic maintenance home inspection can save the consumer the cost and inconvenience of an expensive repair down the road. An ASHI certified home inspector can often spot potential problems before the damage happens."
Homeowners and homebuyers can find a local ASHI certified home inspector to schedule an inspection on the association's website. ASHI's "Find an Inspector" tool allows homeowners to locate an inspector in their area by language or services provided. Always check with your local inspector for a complete list of services provided.
About the American Society of Home Inspectors
Founded in 1976 and with more than 5,000 members, ASHI is the oldest and most widely recognized non-profit, professional organization of home inspectors in North America. Its Standards of Practice and Code of Ethics is the industry standard. For more information, visit www.ASHI.org.