Unpacking the Mortgage Process: Home Inspections, Appraisals, & Closing


Home inspections, appraisals, and closings, oh my! Aspects of the homebuying process can seem frightening, so knowing what to expect can prepare you for what’s ahead. Here’s a breakdown of three vital parts of the process.

Home Inspection

  • This is the last opportunity to check for defects within the house prior to committing to the purchase.
  • Usually takes place 7-10 days within initial offer.
  • The home inspector is typically hired and paid by the buyer.
  • The home inspection takes approximately 2-4 hours to complete.
  • The inspector will look at plumbing, electricity, and overall foundation of the home.
  • The inspector will send the buyer an inspection report with their findings; this includes pictures, analysis, and recommendations.
  • Home inspections are not required (unless required by a specific down payment program); however, they provide the buyer with important opportunities to minimize unpleasant surprises and difficulties.
  • Depending on the inspection report, buyers can use it for negotiation on features that need repair or replacement.


  • An appraisal is an evaluation of the property by a third party.
  • Buyers usually cover the cost of the appraisal.
  • Lender orders appraisal prior to closing to ensure home is worth at least as much as what the buyer is committing to paying; buyers are not permitted to select their own appraisal company.
  • The appraiser will compare recent sales of similar properties, market trends, and conduct an in-person inspection of the home; this is different than the home inspection.
  • If the appraised value matches or is higher than the contract price, the transaction can continue as planned.
  • Some sellers will lower the listing price to match the appraisal; other sellers may disagree with the appraisal and refuse to negotiate.
  • If a seller refuses to negotiate, the buyer can either make up the difference or request another appraisal; it’s up to the lender to approve the second appraisal; if denied, the buyer can walk away from the deal.
  • The appraisal process can take days to weeks to complete; if the buyer or seller requests a second appraisal it will take longer.
  • The appraisal is important because it allows both the lender and buyers to feel comfortable with the investment.


  • The closing process finalizes the home purchase.
  • During closing buyers sign several legal documents and pay any additional fees; some fees are recurring costs like property tax; others are one-time closing cost expenses that can include:
    • Loan origination fees
    • Application fee
    • Mortgage broker fee
    • Title insurance
    • Appraisal fees
    • Title search fee
    • Other miscellaneous payments
  • Our ReadyClose process allows you to sign the majority of your closing documents from home, saving you time in the process!
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