Everything You Need to Know About Real Estate Appraisals

By Home Bay

Posted on August 30th, 2016

Appraisals are a required part of real estate sales because they are what lenders use to ensure they’re not overpaying for a property. A licensed appraiser will perform a basic inspection of your home. Then, they’ll take a look at values of similar homes and will compare their findings to assign your home with a ‘fair market value.’ So what should you expect once your real estate appraisal is scheduled?


Exterior Inspection:

Appraisers assess your home’s structural basics including the integrity of your exterior siding or paint, roofing and gutters. Next, they briefly inspect the foundation for major cracks or signs of previous water damage. They’ll also measure the square footage of your front and back yard and will make note of the condition of any visible permanent fixtures – like sprinkler systems, landscaping, pools, patios and decks.

Interior Inspection:

Inside, the appraiser will assess the home’s layout, will confirm the number of bedrooms and baths and will take precise measurements of your living spaces. While they will measure the garage and basement (if you have them) those numbers won’t reflect on your paperwork as livable space. However, they can increase market value if they’re finished spaces.

As your appraiser inspects each room, they’ll take notes on the:

  • Condition and materials of interior surfaces like walls, ceilings, floors, and countertops
  • Functionality of electrical sockets, lighting, ceiling fans, plumbing fixtures, and built-in appliances
  • Presence and functionality of air conditioning, furnaces, and duct work
  • Presence of an insulated attic and any firewalls in attached homes
  • Type and condition of your windows and doors, making note of security features
  • Any kitchen or other appliances that will remain in the home post-sale
  • Upgrades or desirable features that add to the value of your home.

After the inspection, they run the comparison, or ‘comps’ against similar properties in your community, noting recent sales and their selling prices to determine your home’s worth and then issue a final appraisal report.

How Appraisals Impact Home Sales

If you get a good appraisal, lenders will be more inclined to back potential buyers interested in purchasing your property. However, a low appraisal can deter investors and derail the sale unless you’re willing to let it go for a lower price than you want. If you’re unhappy with your appraisal, you can request a second opinion, but you’ll likely have to pay for it.

Hopefully this post gave you a good idea of what to expect when the appraiser comes knocking on your door!

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Posted in Preparing to Sell