So, what is a home appraisal? An appraisal is a report that shows stats and pictures of a home. A licensed appraiser will view the home and look at comparable homes in the area that have sold in the last 12 months.  He or she will determine a value for the home. They will do this by looking at the square footage, features, lot size and overall condition.  It is important to note that the value that the appraiser assigns to the home is their opinion!  In theory, you could order 3 appraisals from different appraisers and get 3 different opinions of value. Hopefully, all 3 values would be similar.  When you are applying for a mortgage, you will most likely need to have an appraisal completed.  The mortgage loan officer and/or loan processor will order it for you.