How much does an appraisal cost?

How much does an appraisal cost?How much does an appraisal cost

I get asked “how much does an appraisal cost?” a lot. More and more homeowners these days are seriously considering getting an appraisal on their home to help them price it correctly to sell. There appears to be a change in the mindset of many homeowners from several years ago when the market was appreciating at such a rapid rate. Many sellers would price their home at a very high level due to high demand and most of the time the home would sell fairly quickly, but in today’s market, this is not the case. Competition for buyers is stronger and it is very important to list your home for the correct amount to move it as quickly as possible and to help reduce the likelihood of it not appraising for what it needs to for the mortgage.

Because many homeowners want to have an appraisal done they are curious as to how much an appraisal costs. Generally speaking, an appraisal can cost anywhere from $250.00 to $500. There are various factors that go into quoting an appraisal assignment so I thought I would share with you what we look at when deciding on the fee. I would like to add that in addition to property specific items there are other considerations that determine the fee that you might pay if you were going through a lender who uses an Appraisal Management Company (AMC). Let’s first look at property specific information.

Location- The location of the property can affect the difficulty of the assignment. Rural properties typically require more work because the availability of sales is different than a suburban home in a subdivision where sales occur more frequently. Obtaining sales information call also be more challenging if private sales make up a large part of the market. Sales that occur through a local multiple listing office are easier to track down than private sales because they are easier to verify. The remote location of a property can also result in higher job expenses which can drive up the fee.

Size- Large, custom built homes take more time to measure and inspect. Depending on the size of the house, and other property improvements, an inspection can last anywhere from 30 minutes to several hours. A one level 1,200 square foot home on a subdivision size lot will require less work than a large 5,000 square foot custom built house on 10 acres with a guest house or barn.

Complexity- The complexity of a job assignment can sometimes be tied to the size of the home but it also may be the result of the home being unique compared to typical homes. Some examples of this include lakefront homes, homes that are special purpose (horse farm, etc), homes that are built with custom materials or even homes that are affected by their location to positive and negative influences. If a home is located next to a busy interstate this can make the job more difficult because the appraiser will have to find sales of homes with similar features because of the possible influence on value.

Type of Property- The appraisal fees for different types of properties can vary. This is usually related to the complexity of the assignment. Property types include the following: single family residences, manufactured homes, modular homes, and multi-family residences (duplexes,etc.). Depending on the real estate market, data may be limited and this could result in additional time and effort.

Non-Property Specific Reasons For a Higher Appraisal Fee- As I mentioned previously there is another reason that a homeowner might pay a higher fee for an appraisal and that would be whenever an Appraisal Management Company (AMC) is involved. This would only occur when they are getting a loan from a bank or mortgage company. Several years ago government legislation required a third party to get involved so that communication between the loan officer and the appraiser would be reduced. This was supposed to reduce potential pressure on the appraiser by lenders. While it was possible for non-commission employees within the bank or mortgage company to perform this task, many companies outsourced this job to AMC’s, which ended up costing the consumer more money. The only reason I include this information here is so the homeowner will better understand the difference between what their loan documents say they actually paid for the appraisal and what the appraiser says he got paid. Most AMC’s will add their fee on top of what the appraiser gets and increase the cost to the homeowner, which can result in the “appraisal” fee increasing by several hundred dollars.

As I said, there are many factors that go into quoting an appraisal, so if you would like a specific quote on your own property please give me a call. I would be glad to speak with you about it and answer any questions you have.

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If you have any real estate appraisal related questions you can call me at 205.243.9304, email me, or connect with me on Facebook., Twitter, or Youtube.


  1. Can you please be specific about your location so that people know the fees in your area are about half of what they are elsewhere in the country? Thank you.

    • I appraise in the Birmingham, Alabama area. I’m not sure that the fees in my area are half of what they are in other parts of the country. I’ve had conversations with other appraisers and appraisal fees are pretty similar in most areas. There are isolated areas where fees are higher but that varies.

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