How much is a typical home appraisal?

cost of a home appraisal


Appraisers complete various type of reports for lenders and homeowners. The big factors that affect the cost of a home appraisal is the location, purpose of the appraisal, size of the home and lot size. As a homeowner, you can stay abreast of your home’s value with a desktop appraisal for as low as $200.


What is the cost of a home appraisal?

The base cost of a full home appraisal is between $400 and $600 depending on the region. However, in some markets, like Washington State for instance the base cost is $800.  Additional complexities like rural location, size of the home, acreage property, water frontage and other factors could increase the cost of the appraisal. 


Appraisal fees can be broken down into the following general categories.


Selling Your Home

A Pre-listing appraisal is a seller and real estate agents best friend. By setting the right price you ensure a timely sale without leaving money on the table. You will also receive a sketch of the property with the correct square footage calculations that you can share in your listing. The other extreme is to overprice a home and run the risk of the listing growing stale and enduring numerous price reductions. There is no one better than a property appraiser to give you an accurate market value of your home. For pre-listing purposes an appraiser will complete a general purpose appraisal report and the cost would typically range from $400 to $600.


Lending Purposes

Most often home appraisals are completed for lenders to assess and manage risk for a home purchase or refinance transaction. In mortgage transactions the lender typically sets the fee that the borrower must pay for the appraisal. Lenders invariably contract this service out to a third party company known as an AMC (Appraisal Management Company) who charge additional fees to process the transaction.  A recent survey indicated that appraisers receive between $300 and $450 of the appraisal fee. The AMC fees run between $150 and $300.


How much is the FHA appraisal fee?

An FHA appraisal inspection is more involved than appraisals for most other purposes. As such, the FHA appraisal cost is slightly higher than the normal mortgage appraisal fees. The FHA will sometimes require a 2nd appraisal for mortgage loans that are flagged as high risk.


Complex Appraisal

These assignments require a Certified Appraiser and need a considerable amount of work and analysis. An assignment is considered complex for reasons such as rural location, partial ownership, unique properties, upcoming zoning changes, luxury homes, unique architecture, water frontage, larger lots for the area, atypical features, etc. You can expect to pay between $700 to $2500 for a complex appraisal.


Desktop Appraisal

As a homeowner it is helpful to conduct a periodic review and stay abreast of your home value.  You can do this by asking an appraiser to conduct a desktop appraisal for approximately $200. You can also use this type of report to appeal your taxes.


Divorce Appraisal Cost

Often in divorce situations the family home can be a point of contention. Typically one party will try and buy the other out or the home will be sold and the proceeds divided. An accurate appraisal can settle arguments regarding the value of the home or the listing price.   The costs can vary significantly depending on the qualifications of the appraiser and complexities of the assignment.


How often should you get an appraisal?

A change in lifestyle such as death, divorce, sale etc would dictate an appraisal is warranted.  As a homeowner it is also advantageous to annually or biennially obtain an appraisal to understand any shifts in your market that would affect the value of your investment. For mortgage purposes lenders consider an appraisal valid for six months. This is reasonable given that markets can change within a few months.


Who pays for an appraisal when buying a house?

In a purchase transaction while the buyer is required to pay for it they are not considered the client. The appraisal is completed for the lender. The cost of the appraisal should be disclosed in the good faith estimate and the fees are added to the closing costs.



Appraiser’s mostly work independently and set their own fees.  Of all the costs in a real estate transaction the flat fee appraisal cost of a few hundred dollars is the least expensive and provides monumental value to the buyer, seller and lender.




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Gynell Vestal

Certified Residential Appraiser, Gynell has a diverse appraisal background covering Commercial, Residential, Rural, Complex and Luxury Properties as well as National Appraisal Review work in the secondary Market. She began her Appraisal training in Oklahoma in 2001 covering Rural and Commercial Properties. With several years as a National Review Appraiser at Fannie Mae and other big banks, Gynell has keen insight into the secondary market guidelines and requirements.

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