As for a free appraisal, an appraisal is usually performed by an appraiser that is hired by the bank underwriting the mortgage. The appraisal value will be used to determine the maximum mortgage amount that the bank is willing to finance on the property being sold/purchased. This is a step where some contracts may fall apart since often times there will be language in the purchase contract that stipulates the agreed purchase amount is contingent on mortgage financing. If the appraiser values the property at or above the purchase amount, the contract fulfills the mortgage contingency, otherwise if the appraisal value falls below that amount the contract may be void.
Appraisers get paid, usually by banks, who then usually charge the borrower/buyer of the mortgage the cost which will go into the closing costs. Banks writing mortgages generally do not accept any other appraisal report other than the one they paid for, so it is not to your advantage to get a free or paid appraisal separately from the bank.
I live in Somerville and right now there is an extreme shortage of properties on the market with an abundance of buyers making for a great seller's market. If you have any other questions, feel free to ask or contact a local agent.
I would be happy to help you determine where your home would place in today's market. Please give me a call and I will meet with you at your convenience and review your ideas and options for the sale of your property at this time. I am quite familiar with Somerville.
Heather LoRe, Realtor
I doubt you will find an Appraiser who will do a free appraisal on your home. However, most Realtors will do a free Comparative Market Analysis (CMA) on your property in the hopes you will list your house for sale with them if you decide to list. Call a few local Realtors to see if they will assist you.