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Myths & Facts About Your Home Appraisal

There are nearly 100 home appraisers in Columbia, SC. How would anyone go about picking one, and what does the appraiser actually do and who pays for the appraisal? These are all questions that a novice home buyer or seller may have. There is quite a bit of misinformation out there, and we will make clear here the appraiser’s job and present the facts.

Northeast Columbia Homes for Sale

Licensing Requirements for Appraisers

A real estate agent is not necessarily an appraiser. In Columbia, SC there are criteria for appraisers to have a license. A license is obtained after approx. 200 hours of college level course work. Following the course work anyone seeking to become a state licensed, state certified residential or state certified general appraiser must successfully pass a State Appraiser Examination. Then there are continuing education requirements to maintain a license.

Appraisals are for the Lenders

Do not think that the appraisal is for the buyer’s benefit. It is the lender who is protected by the appraisal more than anyone. The appraisal will be done before loan approval and can affect the bank’s decision. A bank has the right to agree to a loan that may be a percentage (often 75% or 95%) of the appraised value.


This is Not a Science

Contrary to the myth that is prevalent, there is no exact mathematical formula involved in an appraisal. Many factors are taken into consideration including location, that is, nearby schools, public amenities, and even stores. A large part of the appraisal process is comparables. These are recent sales in the neighborhood. Lenders have very strict requirements as to the distance and time of comparable sales and all sales, including short sales and foreclosures, must be noted.

Housekeeping vs. Real Repair

Some people believe that doing the dishes and running the vacuum before the appraiser arrives will make a difference. It usually takes more planning and time than that. Any effort to raise the appraisal of a home should be put into paint, carpet, light and plumbing fixtures. That means repair leaky faucets cracked windows, and missing handrails. Mend any actual structural damage also. Appraisers generally set values in five hundred dollar increments, so anything that costs more than $500 should be done. A needed repair that is that significant will make a difference in the appraisal.

Selling Your Home in Columbia, SC

An appraisal will be an important part of buying or selling a home. Plan, prepare and educate yourself for the appraisal and make sure a prudent choice has been made as to the appraiser. Whether you are the seller or the buyer in Columbia, SC, you have a right to see the appraisal and you should obtain a copy within two weeks of the appraisal.

If you’d like more information about selling your home, feel free to read our home seller’s eBook:

seller eBook

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