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CostHelper > Personal Finance  > Real Estate > Property Appraisal

Property Appraisal Cost

How Much Does a Property Appraisal Cost?

low costResidential Appraisal: $250-$1,000+average costRental Property Appraisal: $400-$2,400+high costCommercial Appraisal: $1,000-$5,000+
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A property appraisal is an independent and unbiased opinion of the value of a parcel of real estate, done by a trained appraiser using standard and approved methods. Appraisals are typically done when buying or refinancing a home or other property, or as part of the property division for an estate or divorce. The National Association of Independent Fee Appraisers provides an overview[1] .

Typical costs:

  • The cost of an appraisal depends on the location, type of property, square footage and type of report (which is based on the purpose of the appraisal). New construction, homes larger than 3,500 square feet or properties outside of an appraiser's primary area typically cost more. A standard residential appraisal can cost $250-$1,000 or more, but averages about $300-$500. For example, the Houston Appraisal Company[2] in Texas starts its fees at $300 for a non-lender appraisal of a single-family home
  • An FHA/HUD appraisal uses the Uniform Residential Appraisal Report (URAR) form and is more detailed than a standard home appraisal; the FHA estimates the average cost of an URAR appraisal report at $300-$500, but costs vary, For example, A-1 Los Angeles Home Appraisals[3] in California charges $325-$750 for appraising a single family dwelling with a URAR form.
  • A rental property appraisal, which typically includes a rent survey and the property's income statement, can cost $400-$2,400 or more, depending on location and number of units. For example, Appraisal IQ[4] in Texas charges $450 for a duplex and $500 for a fourplex; and[5] in Southern California charges $950-$1,900 and up for a four-page appraisal of a building with 5-60 rental units.
  • A property financed through the Veterans Administration must be appraised by a VA-assigned appraiser; this typically costs $400-$600. Check with the nearest VA regional center for the maximum allowable appraisal fees.
  • A commercial real estate appraisal starts at about $1,000-$5,000 but can cost more for complex reports. For example,[6] in Southern California charges $1,500 and up for a limited or expanded scope summary appraisal (25-75 pages) and $3,500 and up for a self-contained narrative appraisal report (60-200 pages).
  • Appraising a vacant lot can cost $300-$500 or more depending on location and size. For example, Piekos Appraisals[7] in Illinois charges $325 and Appraisal IQ[8] in Texas charges $400.
Related articles: Refinancing a Mortgage, Real Estate Contract Review, Divorce

What should be included:
  • An appraisal is a dense, multi-page document, often on a specific form acceptable to the lender. An appraisal report should identify the real property being appraised, the date of the report, its purpose and intended use, the methods used to appraise the property, any assumption and conditions affecting the property's value and the best use of the property. The report should comply with the USPAP (Uniform Standards of Professional Appraisal Practice), which requires that the appraiser sign the report to certify it.
  • A residential appraisal report typically takes a few days to a few weeks to complete. Commercial appraisal reports typically take anywhere from one to six weeks depending on the complexity of the situation, the availability of data and the required report format.
Additional costs:
  • A quicker turn-around time costs more. For example, Houston Appraisal Company[9] in Texas charges a 24-hour rush fee of $100.
  • If the property is located outside the appraiser's standard area, travel fees may apply, depending on distance. For example, A-1 Los Angeles Home Appraisals[10] in Los Angeles County charges an additional $75-$150 for appraisals elsewhere in Southern California.
  • A "desktop appraisal" in which the appraiser estimates a property's value without inspecting it typically costs $100-$150. This type of limited appraisal might be done to determine if the property is worth enough to qualify for refinancing, before incurring the cost of a full appraisal.
  • If it's not possible to get access to the interior of the home, a "drive by appraisal" in which the appraiser views only the exterior and uses public records and other open sources for information typically costs $150-$275, depending on location, square footage and type of property.
  • Free rough estimates of property values based on limited public information are available online at sites like or Yahoo Real Estate[11] .
Shopping for a property appraisal:
  • Ask about the appraiser's training, experience, licensing (not all states require a license) and certification. Many appraisers will provide a copy of their license upon request; check with the licensing agency to be sure the license is active and in good standing. gives tips for choosing an appraiser.
  • Search for local appraisers through the Appraisal Institute[12] .
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