My realtor suggested that I get an appraisal done on my home.  What is an appraisal? What exactly does an appraiser do to determine the value of my home?

We’re glad that you asked. An appraisal is simply an unbiased professional opinion of the value of a person’s property. When a mortgage is involved, lenders want to have an idea of what the property is worth before they lend money to a prospective client so that the price is fair for everyone.  They bring in an outside party who can be objective regarding the property’s worth, an Appraiser.

Most people have misconceptions when it comes to an Appraiser. Either they’re a stuffy bean counter with little to no personality or they’re a Machiavellian level villain. We can assure you the Appraiser is neither of those things. They’ve been brought on to do a job and they do it to the best of their ability and in as impartial of a capacity as possible.  Put simply, they’re there to review facts, determine the value, and notify the bank of that value.  Whether it’s for their Aunt Sally or a complete stranger, Appraisers perform at the same professional level in any situation.

The Appraiser looks at a variety of variables to determine the value of a home. While it might seem shrouded in a mystery, it’s really not. There’s no reason to fear this part of the process.

Once the Appraiser has been assigned the property, they schedule an inspection. This inspection can last anywhere from 15 minutes to three hours. While onsite, the Appraiser will come inside the property to take note of several things: room measurements, the number of bedrooms and bathrooms, if a remodel has been done on any room, if there’s a full/partial basement, crawl space, or attic, etc. They’ll take pictures so that they can create a sketch of the home’s layout later and have photographic evidence of the state of the property. Cleanliness is appreciated and helps the Appraiser to get a clearer look at the property’s unique characteristics.

Once the internal inspection’s been completed the Appraiser will do an external inspection. They’ll make a note of things like the materials and conditions of the foundation, external walls, the roof, and any other items like gutters and downspouts, etc. They’ll look to see if there are any physical deficiencies or conditions that would affect the home’s overall integrity. They’ll also note if there is maintenance needed (Peeling paint, if there are items missing like a door handle, etc.) what kind of HVAC system the home has, mark if any item is energy efficient, if there’s a deck or porch, if the property is fenced, etc.

Once the Appraiser has this information they head back to the office.  They pull comparable properties in the area (properties that are have similar characteristics to your value) that have recently sold that they can compare your home against to help get a true measure of your property’s worth.  They’ll determine the value, write up a report based off the information derived from your home and the comparables they’ve pulled, and send it to the lender.  The lender then provides that information to you and uses the information regarding your loan.

An appraisal is never the same. Each home has its own unique characteristics.  The loan type determines if there are additional aspects of the home to research (FHA and VA loans have more stringent regulations than conventional loans, for example) and it’s the Appraiser’s job to review all the details and provide an ultimate answer.

Here at The Appraisal Station, we pride ourselves on providing the highest quality appraisal that we can for our customer. Our certified residential appraisers are fully trained and licensed and are standing by to help give you the knowledge that you need to make the best decisions possible for your home. Looking for an appraisal? Click here for a free quote or give us a call at 614-899-6943.