What to Expect From Your Home Inspection, Appraisal and Evaluation

What to Expect From Your Home Inspection

It’s easy to get confused about the differences between a home appraisal, home inspection and real estate evaluation. They are all important for different reasons, and they all look at separate aspects of the property in in question, at different times and for different purposes.

Home Evaluations

A proper home evaluation is how insurance brokers like us at Bow Valley can help you get the best rate you can on your home insurance. A home evaluation is one of the ways we work to get an accurate picture of your property and calculate the amount of coverage you need.

Some of the common questions found on a home evaluation questionnaire include:

  • The square footage of your home
  • The type of structure
  • Siding type
  • Roof material
  • If there is a garage
  • If there is a developed basement
  • If there is a secondary suite
  • If you rent out all or some of your property
  • If you own items of exceptional worth
  • If you have an alarm system

Evaluations are quite quick and easy to fill out, and the data provides enough information to insurance companies to calculate basic policy premiums and limits.


If you decide to buy a particular home, and you have to finance the purchase, a real estate appraisal of the property is at the heart of that loan. An appraisal is an in-depth analysis of the value of a home that helps protect the buyer from overpaying, as well as the bank from being exposed to lending for an overvalued property.

A trained real estate appraiser starts with the location, age, and size of the home as the base of their financial valuation. Also taken into account are the home’s condition, its construction materials and architectural style, the perceived quality of the local schools, the type of heating and cooling systems, its code compliance, and owner reported features, appliances, as well as what other homes in the area have recently sold for, sales which are called “comparables.”

What an appraisal is not, is an in-depth look at the structure and possible hidden problems of a home.

Home Inspections

A home inspection is a visual inspection of the components and the structure of a home by a trained expert in construction. It is normally conducted at the buyer’s expense as a precondition to signing a mortgage, and it usually happens after the seller accepts the buyer’s conditional offer. A typical inspection takes three or four hours. It is customary for the buyers and their agent to attend the inspection.

A capable home inspector will examine all accessible areas of the property. They will spot and evaluate any foundation problems, electrical issues, initial construction or repair flaws, code violations, safety concerns such as rickety stairs to the basement, signs of wood rot or insect or rodent infestation, and any deferred maintenance issues that can result in hidden future expenses.

Even if a home has been independently appraised to be of a certain value by the bank and pre-approved for a mortgage, a “failed” home inspection will be a showstopper.

Contact Bow Valley Insurance for a Home Insurance Quote

It’s easy to get confused about the differences between a home appraisal, home inspection and real estate evaluation. Of the three, a thorough home evaluation plays the most crucial role in properly evaluating your property for your home insurance coverage. Try our home evaluation tool if you’re interested in knowing if your current coverage reflects your actual needs.