What’s The Difference Between A Home Inspection And A Home Appraisal

It is not uncommon for first-time home buyers in Chicagoland to get confused between an appraisal and a home inspection. The major difference between a home inspection and an appraisal is that a home appraisal looks at how much a property is worth, but a home inspection will check how structurally sound the home is.

The city of Chicago is quite strict with compliance with housing codes and ordinances. How can you ensure that all on your own? There’s no doubt you need an expert to come and inspect the house you are about to buy.

In short, both are important since both give you important details about the house that might affect your decision to buy it. So, you must know what a house inspection and appraisal are and how these two services can ultimately impact the outcome of the deal.

Let’s get into it with a little more detail.

Home Inspections

Home inspection, in a nutshell, is exactly what it sounds like. An inspection of a house. During a home inspection, you will have an inspector come by to examine the actual condition of the house. Now, the inspector might notice points of concern that you may have missed. 

Unlike a home appraisal, choosing to get a home inspection is optional. 

As a buyer, once you have made the offer for the house you’ve been eyeing, you can choose to get a home inspection done before sealing the deal. 

Here is what the home inspection includes and doesn’t include:


  • Structure: Foundation, walls, roof, etc.
  • Utility Systems: Plumbing, electrical, heating and cooling (HVAC), water heater.
  • Interior and Exterior: Walls, ceilings, floors, windows, doors, siding, etc.
  • Needed Repairs: The Inspector identifies potential problems and suggests repairs.

Not Included

  • Market Value: The inspection doesn’t determine how much the house is worth.
  • Location & Neighborhood: This blog post doesn’t address factors like noise or crime rates.
  • Comparable Homes: The inspector won’t compare your home to similar properties.
  • Home Size: The report focuses on the condition, not square footage.

Now that we have covered the basis of a home inspection let’s learn a little about a home appraisal to give you a better understanding of the differences between the two. 

Home Appraisal 

Moving on to home appraisals. How do you know the house you have purchased is worth the price? Did you overpay or underpay? A home appraisal will answer that question for you. 

A home appraisal will give you an unbiased professional opinion of the real value of your property. One thing about home appraisals is that lenders usually require them before approving a mortgage to confirm that the property you are choosing to buy is worth the value and aligns with the loan amount.

Here’s what a home appraisal includes and doesn’t include:


The primary focus is to determine the fair market value of the property.

  • Comparable Homes: The appraiser compares the home with recently sold homes in the area.
  • Location: Factors like neighborhood, school district, and proximity to amenities are considered.
  • Property Size: Square footage, lot size, and the number of bedrooms and bathrooms are taken into account.

Not Included

While the appraiser notes the general condition, it is not as thorough as a home inspection.

  • Needed Repairs: The appraiser may note obvious issues but won’t provide a detailed list of repairs needed.
  • Utility Systems: Unlike a home inspection, the appraiser doesn’t check plumbing, electrical, or HVAC systems in detail.
  •  Interior Details: The appraisal won’t focus on interior aesthetics or cosmetic details unless they significantly impact value.

We have covered the basics. Let’s see how both a home inspection and a home appraisal impact the process of home buying.

Why Home Inspections Matter

Because they can identify issues that you might not be able to notice immediately, home inspections are crucial when purchasing a home. A roof that is collapsing, for instance, or unseen water damage might be discovered by an inspection.

Knowledge of these issues in advance enables you to make an informed decision. You may ask for repairs, alter the terms of the agreement, or even decide against buying the home based on what the inspector discovered.
Additionally, quite helpful in price negotiations is a house inspection report. Should significant issues be discovered, you may be able to negotiate a lower price or request that the seller make the required repairs before finalizing the transaction. Long-term savings of money and stress will result from this.

The Role of Home Appraisals in Securing Financing

Securing finance, however, requires a house appraisal. To be sure the amount of money they are financing corresponds with the real worth of the property, lenders want an appraisal. Should the appraisal come in less than the purchase price, the buyer may have to pay the difference out of pocket or renegotiate the purchase price if the lender refuses to accept the entire loan amount.

Reviews Save You Money

Buyers are also kept from overpaying for a property by an appraisal. Getting sucked into bidding wars and maybe agreeing to a price that much exceeds the property’s actual worth is common in competitive marketplaces. A reality check provided by an appraisal helps you avoid over-committing to an overpriced house.

Home Inspection & Home Appraisals

Appraisals and inspections work together, even though they have separate functions. To make sure there are no unanticipated problems once you move in, the inspection concentrates on the physical state of the house. The appraisal, meantime, makes sure the amount you’re paying is reasonable and represents the house’s actual market worth.

These procedures, taken together, offer you a thorough picture of what you’re purchasing, enabling you to make an educated choice. They safeguard your money and offer a safety net, making sure the property is in good shape, and you aren’t paying more than it is worth.

Preparing for Both Processes As a buyer, it’s beneficial to be prepared for both the home inspection and appraisal.

Looking for a Qualified Home Inspector

Home inspections are not something to be taken lightly – you don’t want to buy a house and end up with a whole list of problems afterward.

So, if you want to get a proper home inspection done, you need to shuffle through a whole bunch of inspectors in Chicago. With The BrickKicker being the best home inspector in the city.No need to put that inspection off any longer. Call us, and we’ll get the job done.