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What Is an Appraisal?

Chime Team • March 26, 2024


An appraisal is a professional assessment of the value of a property or asset. Conducted by a certified professional known as an appraiser, this evaluation is used to determine the fair market value of the property in question. Appraisals are commonly used in real estate transactions but can also apply to the valuation of personal property, including antiques, artworks, and collectibles.

People can request appraisals for a variety of reasons. An example could be a homebuyer applying for a mortgage, where the lender requires an appraisal to ensure the property’s value supports the loan amount. Similarly, when a homeowner wishes to refinance their mortgage, an appraisal is often required to confirm the home’s equity supports the refinanced loan. In the insurance industry, appraisals are used to establish the value of an insured item, determining replacement cost in the event of a claim.

Appraisals provide objective, unbiased valuations that parties in a transaction can rely upon. For lenders, appraisals are important risk management tools that ensure the property’s value justifies the loan amount. For buyers and sellers, appraisals help to confirm that the price agreed upon reflects the property’s true market value.

Understanding appraisals can help people make informed decisions about buying, selling, or refinancing their property. An appraisal can influence negotiation strategies, determine the property’s value for estate planning, or dispute property taxes if the assessed value is believed to be too high compared to the appraised value.

Appraisals can play a significant role in a wide variety of settings, including:

  • Real Estate Transactions: Determining the value of residential or commercial property for buying, selling, refinancing, or leasing
  • Loan Underwriting: Assisting lenders in making decisions on mortgage applications
  • Insurance: Establishing the value of property for coverage purposes
  • Tax Assessments and Disputes: Providing a basis for challenging property tax assessments

Appraisals are a core aspect of transactions involving property and high-value personal assets. They provide essential information that affects decision-making for buyers, sellers, lenders, and insurers. Understanding the appraisal process and its impact can help people navigate financial decisions more confidently, ensuring they are based on solid, professionally assessed valuations.

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