Is a Birmingham Home Appraisal Worth the Money?

A Birmingham Home Appraisal May Be In Your Future

Is a home appraisal worth the moneyWell, 2017 is behind us and 2018 is ahead of us. A new year brings new opportunities and new possibilities. These may come in the form of selling your current home so that you can move up to your dream home or maybe you need to move away to pursue a better job. If you’re in this situation and live in the Birmingham area you may have asked yourself whether a Birmingham home appraisal is worth the money.

Don’t Guess With Your Biggest Asset

Whatever path you’re taking, part of the process of selling your home is making sure that it is priced accurately. I write Birmingham Appraisal Blog to help sellers learn about the appraisal process and how important having an accurate value of your home is when selling.

An important question that sellers ask themselves is whether an appraisal is worth the money spent. The cost of an appraisal varies from home to home, however, for the majority of properties, the price is pretty consistent and affordable. In a past blog post, I wrote about how much a Birmingham area appraisal costs and went into the various factors that influence the cost.

3 Benefits of a Birmingham Home Appraisal

In order to determine whether it’s worth the cost, you should look at the benefits. Some of the benefits of a pre-listing appraisal include the following:

1) Accurately price your home from the start- There are studies that suggest that if you overprice your home at the beginning you end up selling it for less than you would have if you would have priced it lower, but more accurately, from the start.

If you overprice your home, in the beginning, it most likely will not sell because buyers will recognize that it is priced above all the other homes they are looking at. Other buyers will then notice how long it has been on the market and assume that something is wrong with it.

Buyers in today’s market are much savvier than they were several years ago. They go online and do the research before even thinking about visiting the property.

A pre-listing appraisal will help you avoid this by pricing the home based on recent sales and current active listings. This will help it to sell for the highest supportable value and within a reasonable time.

If you consider that accurately pricing your home from the beginning will help you to sell it faster then you’ll realize that the mortgage payments saved by selling more quickly and the marketing cost spent to advertise the home for a longer period of time will be reduced by investing in an appraisal.

2) Knowing accurate square footage can get you more money- One of the biggest errors I see MLS listings are inaccurate square footage. If the gross living area of your home is underestimated then the price will probably be lower because of the smaller area and you will leave money on the table.

If the square footage of the home is overestimated then the listing price may be too high, and this can result in it not selling. You then get into the scenario I described above, which results in selling the home for less than what it is really worth.

One other scenario you should be aware of is that if the living area is not accurate you can exclude a lot of potential buyers. When an MLS search is done the living area is one of the search parameters, and if the square footage is wrong then the property may not be included in searches.

3) An appraisal can help your agent- Some people believe that just because they are using a real estate agent that an appraisal is not worth the money, but I disagree. In some situations, an agent will be very familiar with the market a home is in and they will have accurate property information. When this occurs they are able to price the home to sell for the best price within a reasonable time period.

Other times the information needed to sell a home may not be so clear-cut. If a seller has made additions to their home an appraisal can help them get accurate square footage and take the new improvements into consideration when setting a list price. The price of the appraisal can be more than recouped by getting accurate living area and setting a price that will result in a sale within a typical listing period.


So, do you have a different answer than before you read this post? Is an appraisal worth the money? I hope I have given you some food for thought going into 2018. If you are interested in selling this year an appraisal may be the answer to accurately pricing your home. If you have any further questions feel free to contact me and as always thanks for reading.

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  1. I think an appraisal is worth the money, but I’m a bias party being an appraiser myself. I guess it would depend on the cost of the appraisal versus the probability of a gain or loss from a good or bad decision. If using Zillow, the probability of a bad decision would be high.

    • Yes, Gary, I agree that appraisers can be biased when discussing whether an appraisal is worth the money. I have provided guidance for agents and owners to estimate the value of their home without getting an appraisal, however, when that does not work then an appraisal is the next logical step.

  2. Accurate square footage is important. If agents are only guessing, it can be an unfortunate situation when the appraiser gets there and discovers the house is actually larger or smaller. That makes a difference in value – and it certainly makes a difference with buyers. I saw someone in my market buy a house that was advertised as 400 sq ft larger than it actually was. This was a cash buyer, and it was not a happy moment when the property was determined to be much smaller than was advertised.

    • Yes, that is not a fun situation to find yourself in. Even if they do not want to get a full appraisal they can get a floor plan sketch to assist in pricing the home. Thanks for sharing your experiences, Ryan.

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