Is a Home Appraisal Included in Closing Costs?
There are a lot of fees, expenses, taxes and charges that are all rolled into closing costs. It can be hard to track exactly what’s included in them and what your additional out-of-pocket expenses will be. So, is the appraisal part of the closing costs? In most cases, yes it is. And the appraisal fee cost is typically paid before closing.
If the appraisal fee is used in negotiation, the buyer can request that the seller pay the cost of the appraisal fee. Some appraisers prefer payment in advance of closing. Doing so helps to ensure they get paid, whether the deal makes it to the closing table or not. Other appraisal groups are fine with getting paid at closing, and will include a contract that requires payment by the responsible party even if the real estate purchase falls through.
What’s Included in a Home Appraisal?
Property appraisers determine the home’s value. This is done by compiling data from several different sources and then building an estimate of the real estate’s overall worth — inside and out. The home appraisal process involves inspecting county records, courthouse documents and then looking carefully at comparable homes in the area. An appraisal report typically contains:
- Details on the appraiser’s methodology for determining the home’s value
- Data on the area around the home and details on the age of other local homes
- Detailed evaluation of current real estate market trends local to the home
- A list of comparable sales and similar properties that were referenced in building the estimate against your home and the sales price
- Municipal survey maps, plats and drawings relative to the home’s property lines and boundaries
- Current and/or historic photographs
- The size of the home in square feet
- Description of permanent fixtures and their relative condition
- Details on improvements made and materials used
- Information on structural issues
- The status of water infiltration into the home or basement
- An overall statement on the condition of the home
Are Inspection Fees Included in Closing Costs?
Home inspections are a critical part of the home buying process. And as a homebuyer, there’s a lot to learn from the details that your home inspector will share with you. Is inspection included in closing costs? Much the same as appraisal groups, home inspectors are likely to want payment at the time of inspection.
If your home inspector is willing to wait until the deal wraps up, you may find their fees in the “cash due at closing” section of your closing statement. And like appraisal fees, the cost of the inspection is not specifically part of your closing costs even though the fee is due when you close and make the purchase.
What’s Included in a Home Inspection?
A professional home inspector will deliver a close-up review of your home’s major systems. Before you hire an inspector, be sure to learn about the services and tasks your inspector will perform. And don’t forget to ask about the cost of tasks or tests that will result in an extra charge. Verify that your inspector is certified by the American Society of Home Inspectors. These areas are typically covered under a base home inspection service agreement:
- Heating and air conditioning (HVAC)
- State of home’s interior and exterior
- Electrical systems and electrical panel
- Attic and crawl space inspection
Extra Home Inspection Services and Expenses
Most home inspectors charge a base fee for their services. But those fees can climb depending on the square footage of the house and the kind of work you want to have done. Some homebuyers prefer to have the home tested for the presence of lead before they commit. Others are willing to pay extra to learn if the home will require a radon mitigation system.
Your home inspector may be able to do these tests but you’re going to pay a separate fee for each service and test. Take a look at the average costs of additional services that most home inspectors provide: