In the past week, I had two instances where people equated appraisers and inspectors, so I thought that I would do a brief description of the difference. I imagine for a home buyer that you could wonder why you would need both professionals to look at your home, since they both look at its condition. In fact, I saw a website that suggested that all you needed was an appraiser, because they do the same thing as I. A good appraiser would never make such a claim, and I would never state that I could replace an appraiser.
An appraiser is checking the condition of the property, but his concern is towards value. He will not be dealing with all of the details of the condition to the building as an inspector would, because these details do not effect value. For example, we would both wonder about the foundation. We would both acknowledge the current condition of the foundation, but then we depart in our investigation. With the basic condition determined, the appraiser would move on. As an inspector, I would be looking for signs of future concerns, and what may be happening now. This does not effect the value of the home. It does let the homeowner know what to look out for.
The appraiser is necessary for checking market value against an appraised value. Part of the current real estate crisis is that market prices kept soaring, and now they are crashing in some parts of the country. Appraisers have to consider market prices in their estimation, but generally their values are conservative in comparison to the market. This allows the lender to figure out if a loan is for the proper amount. An inspector valuation of the house is always neutral when it comes to price, because I am only looking at the condition of the systems of the house with no regard to its relevance to price. I would also be looking at more systems of the home than an appraiser. An appraiser would be looking more broadly at the neighborhood, which I do not do. Well, that is the summary in brief.