Average Cost of a Home Appraisal in Washington and Other FAQs

October 31, 2023
Last updated:
October 31, 2023
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People tend to have many questions about the home appraisal process in Washington, and we’ve addressed some of them in the past.

In this article, we’ll review the average cost of a home appraisal in Washington, factors that can influence the cost, and scenarios where an appraisal might either be required or warranted.

What is Included in a Home Appraisal?

Several factors are involved in an appraisal, including the following:

  • Age of the property
  • Condition of the property
  • Location of the property
  • Size of the property
  • Size of the lot
  • Exterior features, such as patios, landscaping, swimming pool, etc
  • Condition of foundation, roofing, and basement
  • Plumbing
  • Electrical system
  • Lighting
  • Signs of water damage, pest infestation, etc
  • Home improvements or additions made
  • Number of bedrooms
  • Number of bathrooms
  • Interior design
  • Unique property features
  • Safety features

The appraiser will look at all these features relative to other similar homes in the area that have recently sold.

How Long Does a Home Appraisal Take?

Given the various factors involved in a home appraisal and all the differences between one home and another, the time it takes an appraiser to assess the value of a home can vary greatly. That said, it can take a half hour to a few hours to complete an appraisal.

Once the appraisal report is ready, the appraiser will typically send it to the lender or homeowner within a few days. However, there could be a delay in submitting this report if the appraiser finds that additional information is required to provide an accurate appraisal.

How Much Do Home Appraisals Cost in Washington?

In Washington, a comprehensive home appraisal can cost anywhere from $700 to $1,200 on average. For a typical home, you can expect to pay around $800 for an appraisal. But it can vary, so you’ll want to shop around if you have an opportunity to do so.

Homeowners who are having their own properties appraised can choose their appraiser. A home buyer, on the other hand, typically has to go with the appraiser chosen by the mortgage lender.

But like all things real estate-related, this can vary from one transaction to the next.

What Factors Can Affect the Average Cost of a Home Appraisal in Washington?

As with home inspections, home appraisal fees in Washington can vary due to several factors. Size is the most obvious variable. A larger house can cost more to have appraised since there is more square footage to evaluate.

The following factors can affect the cost of a home appraisal in Washington State:

  • Size and type of property: Larger and more complex properties (e.g., luxury homes, farms, and multifamily properties) typically cost more to appraise than smaller and simpler properties. Condominiums and standard single-family homes cost less, on average.
  • Location: Residential property appraisals in high-cost real estate markets, like the Seattle metro area, often cost more than appraisals in rural areas.
  • Experience and qualifications: A more experienced and qualified home appraiser with a good reputation might charge higher fees than a less experienced counterpart.
  • Demand: Like many service industries, the home appraisal cost in Washington can be influenced by supply and demand. If there is a higher-than-usual demand for appraisals in a particular area, appraisers may charge higher fees.
  • Turnaround time: If you need a property to be appraised quickly, the appraiser may charge an additional fee.
  • Travel expenses: If the appraiser has to travel a long distance to inspect the property, they might charge an additional fee to cover travel expenses.

Remember that the cost of a home appraisal in Washington State is typically a small percentage of the overall cost of buying or selling a home. But it’s still wise to shop around and compare quotes from different appraisers to get the best possible price if you have the chance to do so.

How to Get a Home Appraisal

As a buyer, you won’t have to worry about looking for an appraiser to have a home evaluated. Your lender will take care of that for you. Once all details of your purchase agreement have been finalized, your lender will appoint an appraiser to assess the value of the property you’ve made an offer on.

That said, sellers may also opt to have their home appraised beforehand. However, your lender will likely still want their own appraisal done to ensure complete accuracy.

Who Pays for It, the Buyer or Seller?

In a typical home-buying scenario in Washington, the buyer usually pays for the home appraisal (at least when a mortgage loan is used.) The buyer’s mortgage lender will require an appraisal to ensure that the home is worth the amount of money the buyer is borrowing.

But there are cases where a seller might offer to pay for the appraisal on the buyer’s behalf. For example, if the homeowners try to sell the home quickly and compete with many other sellers, they might cover this cost to entice more offers.

In the case of mortgage refinancing, the homeowner is generally responsible for covering the cost of the home appraisal in Washington. Lenders typically require a new appraisal to determine the property’s value before refinancing.

Additionally, some homeowners in Washington choose to have a home appraisal before listing their properties for sale. They do this to gain more insight into the market value and to establish a more realistic list price.

Is the Appraisal Part of Closing Costs?

In Washington, the home appraisal can either be paid when the service is performed or rolled into the closing costs. This depends on the relationship the lender has with the appraiser.

In many cases, the home appraiser will require payment at the time the appraisal is actually performed. But there are scenarios where the mortgage lender might cover the cost and then charge the borrower separately as part of their closing costs. It varies.

When you apply for a mortgage loan in Washington, you will receive a list of the individual costs you must pay at closing. But it never hurts to be proactive. You can always ask your mortgage lender how the appraisal process works and when the payment will be required.

Key Takeaways From This Article

We’ve covered a lot of information here, so let’s close out by summarizing the most important takeaways from this article:

  • Home appraisals play a part in many real estate transactions and can affect buyers and sellers alike.
  • The average cost of a home appraisal in Washington is approximately $500 to $800, with $600 being a typical price.
  • Factors affecting appraisal costs include property size and type, location, appraiser experience, demand, turnaround time, and travel expenses.
  • In a standard home-buying scenario with a mortgage, the buyer usually pays for the appraisal.
  • The mortgage lender requests it to ensure that the property value matches the loan amount.
  • In some cases, the seller might cover the cost of the appraisal on behalf of the buyer, especially in a slower real estate market.
  • Appraisal costs in Washington can be paid upfront or rolled into closing costs, depending on the lender’s arrangement with the appraiser.

The bottom line: The average cost of a home appraisal in Washington ranges, depending on several factors, though you could realistically be spending roughly $600 for this service. If you work with an experienced and reputable mortgage company like Sammamish Mortgage, you shouldn’t encounter any surprises regarding the home appraisal or related costs. Everything will be disclosed to you in advance and in clear language.

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