Is an Appraisal Necessary?

Charikleia Stouka, Realtor® at Alma Real Estate, discusses some dos and don’ts when selling, buying or renting property in a real estate Q&A.

What is a home appraisal?

It is a fair professional estimation of the real, current value of a property.

Is a home appraisal necessary?

When a house goes on the market, who can determine that you are asking for the right deal? When you are buying a house, how do you know that the asking price is the right one?

On the occasion of selling/buying a property, the home appraisal is a key factor of the transaction. The knowledge of the true value of a house is very important, for both the seller and the buyer, because it decisively ensures that neither has been cheated.

How much does an appraisal cost?

It is upon agreement but, for example, for a property worth about 1.500.000 Euros, the appraisal would cost about 1.300 Euros, but appraisals can start as low as 150 Euros.

Can’t owners form an opinion themselves about the value of their property by looking through the adverts in the newspaper and the Internet.

The owner of a 140 sq.m. newly built, (4 year-old), maisonette near Athens was asking 75.000 Euros for his property. A home appraisal would have shown the property was worth at least 150.000 Euros. An appraisal would cost 300-500 Euros but would have added thousands for the seller. Also, the price of the listed properties on the Internet or the newspapers is what the owners desire, not what all-cash buyers accept!

I want to buy a house using a mortgage/refinancing my existing mortgage. Why is an appraisal necessary?

Because it determines that the selling price is the correct one, considering the location, the construction, and the special characteristics of the house. In the case of refinancing, it gives the real value of the property and you demand the proper sum of money your property is worth from the lender who, consequently, is sure that he doesn’t lend more money than the property deserves.

My house is among the few house in the area that has a swimming pool. How much value does this feature adds to my property?

Swimming pools are really an attraction and certainly they can add value to a property. However, the cost of maintaining a swimming pool, especially in a lower-income area, may be considered a burden and may decrease the value of a property.

How should I choose the best real estate appraiser?

“If you think it’s expensive to hire a professional to do the job, then wait until you hire an amateur.” How would you choose the best doctor, the best lawyer, the best accountant? A home appraisal requires knowledge of the local market, experience, education, time and effort.

The professionalism of the real estate appraiser should be taken into consideration and help you make the final decision. Certainly, you shouldn’t hire the first appraiser you meet—although he/she could be the best—but should decide after meeting others.

What is the process of an appraisal?

The first step is to visit the property, inspect it carefully, make notes concerning the condition of the house and take photos from the correct angle. Then, research of similar properties that have been sold recently in the area follows. Double checking the information, analyzing data and making the necessary adjustments bring the appraisal to a conclusion.

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