What’s an Appraiser Looking For When Appraising Your Home?
What’s an appraiser looking for? First of all, an appraisal is an estimate of the value of the property made by a qualified professional. Additionally, the appraisal of your home is as important as your credit history in obtaining a mortgage. After all, the property you are purchasing serves as collateral for the loan.
Therefore, an appraiser looks for “fixed” qualities. Such as, location, age, quality of construction and total square footage. As well as, the size and type of rooms, how they relate to the home and the functional layout. By the way, they also look at the homes systems. Such as, HVAC, plumbing and the health and safety factors. Even code compliance.
The Appraisal Report
Appraisers use a standardized form to record the visit to your home. Thus, it will contain data that is used in the calculations and how they came to the appraised value. Of course, along with the report form there are specific items, called “exhibits” which will be in the report.
First, a building sketch and the associated calculations. Usually, this is a hand drawn sketch with the dimensions of the property and the calculations to show how the appraiser came to the estimate figure of the gross square footage.
Second, Is an internal floor plan. But, not all homes require an internal floor plan. However, if the home has an unusual layout that may impact the value of the home the appraiser may include this. On the other hand, if the structure is a condo or other unit no external measurements will be done. In this case, just an internal floor plan with dimensions.
Watch our video on the Arizona appraisal process.
Third, is the street map showing the location of the property and the locations of comparable properties.
Fourth, photographs of the front and back of the home are taken. Also, a street scene and photos of the front of comparable properties.
Fifth, pictures of the interior. At a minimum, the appraiser must take pictures of any examples of deterioration and renovation.
The Bigger Picture
In reality, the valuation process begins before the appraiser even steps foot in your door. With this in mind, he or she will begin by getting a feel for the neighborhood and how your house fits in. For example, if your home is rundown and the rest of the neighborhood is well taken care of your valuation will decrease.
For instance, some of the things that will be taken into account are, the homes proximity to the highway and level of noise. Also, whether or not the architecture of the home is similar to the other homes in the area. As well as how well the home has been taken care of. Likewise, if your house is somewhere that most homes have a view, does yours have a comparable view.
What is the Appraiser Looking For If I Have a Swimming Pool?
When there is a swimming pool, the appraiser takes into account the design, build, quality and proportion of the available space being take up by the pool. Similarly, the maintenance and supplementary items will be taken into account.
The Inside Scoop
When the appraiser enters your home, have no fear, he or she is not there to judge your décor. To clarify, they will be looking at quality of finishes and materials used. As well as, assessing the layout. Not to mention, they will look at kitchen and bathroom fittings and fixtures as well as the flooring throughout the home.
What is the Appraiser Looking For When Looking at the Comparables?
When choosing the comparable properties the appraiser will choose homes that have the same or very similar characteristics such as:
- Property age
- Gross living space
- Number of bedrooms, bathrooms, kitchens and living areas
- Views from the property
- General condition
- Quality of construction and design
- Heating and cooling systems
- Available parking
- Lot size
Also, there must be a record of where the comparable properties are located in relation to the subject property. In fact, they will note how long each property was on the market and what the home sold for. Likewise, any conditions that affect the sales price and from where all this information came from.
The Final Report
All of the above is put together along with current market conditions and a report of what property values are currently doing. In this case, they will be including supply and demand and the number of similar properties for sale in the area. Not to mention, how many comparable sales in the last 12 months. Once all of this information has been gathered the appraiser will submit his final report. Important to realize, this is considered an informed and professional opinion as to the appraised value of the home.
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