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Are both an appraisal and a home inspection needed?

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Home inspections and home appraisals sound similar, but they have very different purposes. Appraisers look for large-scale factors – such as whether there's evidence of termites (nasty!), or the property's sales history. They aren't looking to see if a bathtub needs caulking, faucets leak or whether a ceiling fan operates properly – that's what "those relatives" look at, as well as your home inspector.

Property appraisals look at the big picture of what affects a home's value. A badly leaking roof or a nest of termites eating your foundation, can definitely affect value. Maintenance and convenience factors, such as whether an oven needs to be cleaned or whether filters on an air conditioner need replacing, are more in line with home inspections.

A home inspector is a construction expert. He or she will notice if a window is cracked or doesn't close or if a door needs to be yanked on to get it open. While these issues might not affect a home's value immediately, these problems can get worse and possibly require maintenance in the short-term. A home inspection is a great way for you, the buyer, to get a detailed education about the home you're buying. You'll know if a shingle is out of place or if a faucet drips slightly.

Just as property appraisals give lenders confidence in a home's value, property inspections give buyers confidence that the home they're buying has been well maintained. And if it hasn't, it's leverage for a lower price or for getting things fixed before buying – you have some power here, remember! While an inspection isn't required, M&T Bank recommends that you get one. It's your chance to ask questions, get answers and, possibly, have repairs made to your home before you move in.