Frequently Asked Questions

What is an appraisal?

An appraisal is a supportable opinion of the market value of a piece of property including land and structure.

Are there appraisal guidelines?

Appraisers follow federally accepted guidelines known as USPAP, which governs the ethical and legal aspects of appraisal.

Why do I need an appraisal?

There are many reasons, most often, the appraisal is used as supporting documentation which is required to arrange financing on a property.

How long will the appraiser take?

The time spent in your home may be as little as twenty minutes. The bulk of the appraisal process takes place after the appraiser leaves your home, this can take hours.

What is the appraiser looking for in my home?

Things that influence value. Condition, quality, amenities, materials, repairs, layout, utility. The appraiser is trained to value the real estate and not be affected by housekeeping or the quality or condition of furnishings.

What photographs will the appraiser take of my home?

A front and rear exterior photo of your home will be taken. Many appraisals require interior photographs of kitchens, bathrooms and living rooms. ERC appraisals require a photo of every room. Family photographs should be put away prior to the appraisers inspection. Lenders take so seriously the fact that the appraisers and lenders are not to discriminate based on race that many refuse to have photographs which disclose race.

When will the appraiser schedule the appraisal?

As soon as you are available. Make yourself available. The main reason for appraisal delay is the lack of access to the property. Appraisals can be performed seven days a week during any daylight hour.

What information should I have for the appraiser?

Having the following is not always critical but it does allow us to do a more accurate and thorough appraisal.

  1. Deed
  2. Survey of the property
  3. Most recent tax bills
  4. A list of recent improvements, and improvements since sale
  5. Original plans and specs
  6. The date and price of last purchase
  7. Any other information you consider pertinent

Can the appraiser tell me the value before they leave?

No, the inspection is only the first part of the appraisal process, hours of further research may be necessary before a value conclusion is reached.

Can I get a copy of my appraisal?

Yes, if you paid for it. But if the bank ordered it you must go through the bank. By law, the appraiser can discuss the particulars and outcome of the appraisal with the client only. If the appraisal was ordered by your bank or mortgage company they are the client and “own” the appraisal, even though you paid for it. Likewise, any questions you have on the appraisal should be asked of the lender, who will in turn ask the appraiser.

Will the appraisal effect my taxes?

An appraisal for mortgage purposes will not effect your taxes. It is the property of the mortgage company and the assessor has no rights to see this privileged information.

Since the appraiser inspects the home do I still need a home inspection?

The appraiser spends little time in the home and a “home inspection” is not part of the appraisal process. The lender is usually the client of the appraiser. You can be the home inspectors client. When buying a home it’s worth the small cost to have the peace of mind that a complete home inspection can bring. A home inspection will let you know just what you are planning to buy.

What is a state licensed or certified appraiser?

An appraiser must have a minimum of two years appraisal experience before they can become state certified or licensed. They also must attend and pass several appraisal courses and a state exam.