Both an appraiser and an inspector are typically required when purchasing a home. Both function to protect you, but in very different ways.
When you make an offer to purchase a home, and it is accepted (yay!), your next big step is to get an officially licensed home inspection. The inspector goes through the entire home and look for defects. Their job is to review basic electrical and plumbing function in the home.
Inspectors also look for signs of structural defects as well as possible roof issues. If any problems are found, the inspector will request a more specialized inspection from a structural or roof specialist. The home inspection report is usually used to renegotiate with repairs in mind. Sometimes this leads to a price reduction (after the initial price is agreed to in the initial contract), but most of the time the seller complies to the inspector and performs the repairs before selling.
The home appraisal comes next. The appraiser is hired by the mortgage company to determine the fair market value of the home. They use the standardized report by Fannie Mae to compare the home-for-sale to three other properties that have sold within the last six months. Typically appraisers will search for homes that they deem “comparable” to your property.
There are times when an appraisal can affect the home purchase–especially when the appraiser deems the home less valuable than the contract price. Many times, this becomes another opportunity to renegotiate terms with the seller.
Remember, an inspector looks for signs of physical defects in the house itself. An appraiser looks at the prices of houses in the whole area to get an idea of how much your home is worth. Use both wisely when negotiating your home price!