How to Prepare for an Appraisal Inspection

Your home is your sanctuary.  Having a stranger visit your home can be uncomfortable.  Allowing that stranger to walk through the interior of your home is downright intimidating.  At Appraisal Precision and Consulting Group, Inc., we understand your concerns, but being prepared for that inspection can help ease the apprehension.  Most appraisals from a real estate appraiser are referred to as ‘full appraisals.’  This simply means that the inspection portion of the appraisal process will be on site and will include both the exterior and interior of your home.  So how does one prepare for and best accommodate such an inspection?

Here are some suggestions for homeowners in each portion of the appraisal process:

1.       Before the Appraiser Comes

Most people have the mistaken belief that their home must be sparkling clean in order for the appraiser to visit.  Though we understand your desire to show your home in its best light, a thorough cleaning is not necessary.  The appraiser is looking at the house itself (floor coverings, wall coverings, countertops, siding, roof materials, etc.) and not the contents.

The best way you can prepare before the appraiser comes is to make every area of your home (both exterior and interior) easily accessible.  If you are doing an FHA or VA loan, this includes attic and/or crawlspace areas.

Having a home feature sheet prepared for the appraiser may also be of assistance.  This document should include the major amenities that you believe might increase the value of your home and details concerning any recent updates you have made.  Though the appraiser will likely have a plat map from the county, having one on hand may be helpful.  Having a copy of a past appraisal is not necessary, but it may assist the appraiser to verify measurements and/or other important items.

2.       While the Appraiser is at Your Home

The appraiser will need to walk around your home, observe any outbuildings you might have on the property, and also do a complete walk-through of each interior room.  Though you are obviously entitled to accompany the appraiser, it may be helpful to point out a few things and then let him or her do the job without distraction.  However, it helps if you stay readily available should the appraiser need any questions answered or clarifications made.

We are often asked if it is necessary for the homeowner to be present during the inspection.  We understand that schedules are difficult and we are willing to work with whatever arrangements can be made.  We are professionals and will treat your home with respect  should you need to  have a trusted family member or friend let us in or leave a door open for an appraiser to do the inspection without you there.

Whether or not you are physically at the inspection, be prepared to answer the following questions:

  1. How long have you owned the home and have you had it up for sale in the past 12 months?
  2. What major updating and/or remodeling have you done in the past 15 years?
  3. Is there anything you would like the appraiser to know that is not easily observable?

While the appraiser is at your home, he or she will be gathering information on your home in the form of notes, photos, and a sketch.  Yes, he or she will likely need to take photos of the perimeter of your home, any and all outbuildings, and every room on the interior.

3.       After the Appraiser Leaves

It is likely that the appraiser will have everything that is needed once he or she leaves your property.  On occasion however, the appraiser may contact you for further information and/or clarification to assist in the process.  There are many federal laws and regulations governing the appraisal process.  Some of those laws have to do with the type and amount of communication that can be had between the appraiser and the homeowner after the inspection.  If you contact the appraisal office after the inspection and the appraiser cannot speak to you, or speaks to you but cannot answer your questions, do not take it personally.  This is not a reflection of bad customer service and the appraiser is not trying to be difficult. Rather, the appraiser is trying to comply with the red-tape of federal finance laws.  Should you need to contact the appraiser, please do so through your lending institution.  If the appraisal is for a non-lending purpose and you are the client, we always welcome your communication.

Though an appraisal inspection can be daunting, it does not have to be.  The more you understand what the appraiser will be doing at your property and what he or she is looking for, the less  intimidating it will be.