Home Inspection vs. Appraisal: What’s the Difference?

Both home inspections and appraisals are important to the process of buying a home.

December 1, 2021
3 min read

Buying a home comes with a ton of new terms if you’ve never done it before. You might be so excited that your offer was accepted on the property that you don’t even think about the home inspection or appraisal. It’s even possible that you might not realize these are different things that need to be done.

While both a home inspection and an appraisal are very important, especially if you plan to take out a mortgage, they are not the same thing. It’s important to understand the differences when buying or selling a house. Let’s look at both of these important steps and what they are.

Home Inspections

A home inspection is defined as a non-invasive physical examination of the electrical, plumbing, or mechanical systems or the essential components and the structure of a residential dwelling with the goal of identifying material defects in those structures, systems, and components, according to California Business and Professions Code Sec. 7195.

Inspect.Net will test and examine more than 100 items throughout a home. The goal is not only to make sure the home is safe to live in but also to make sure things are functioning properly. It may take two or more hours for a home inspector to complete the inspection.

After the home inspection has been completed, a report will be provided for the buyer. This report will provide a better understanding of the condition of the home in question. It’s not common for a lender to get a copy of the report.

If you are the home seller, you will receive the report, if you order the home inspection before listing your home for sale. This can help you to see the necessary repairs you need to do to help you sell your home.


Another thing you will have done when you are buying a home is an appraisal. This evaluation will look specifically at the value of the home. It will need to be done by a licensed appraiser, who will determine what the fair market value of the home is. 

Your lender will require an appraisal to make sure the financing they are providing makes sense with the value of the home. If you are purchasing a home without financing, an appraisal is not required, but can still be useful.

Both the buyer and the real estate agent will get a copy of the appraisal, along with the lender. The report will go to the underwriter of the loan and will be verified to ensure the terms of the loan can be justified. Usually, a home appraisal will take about 30 minutes to an hour to complete.

How a Home Inspection and Appraisal are Different

The main difference between a home inspection and an appraisal is what each will look at. While a home inspector is concerned with functionality and safety, an appraiser is concerned with the value of the home. You will also notice that an appraiser will look at other properties in the neighborhood, while a home inspector won’t.

Appraisers don’t examine systems or areas of the home. They take measurements and look at the condition, but only to ensure they can provide a proper report for the value of the home. However, the home inspector will look at the condition of the home.

Both home inspections and appraisals are important to the process of buying a home. While they serve a different purpose, you want to make sure both are done and your lender will likely require a home inspection and an appraisal before you can close on the property.

TIPS … for home owners & buyers 🙂

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