4 Things Appraisers Look for During a Home Appraisal

4 Things Appraisers Look for During a Home Appraisal

When you’re buying or refinancing a home, or interested in a pre-approval appraisal,  getting the property appraised is an important step in the process. In fact, an appraisal is so crucial that a lender typically won’t let you borrow money if the property has not been appraised by a licensed or certified professional.

Property appraisals may also be conducted to settle an estate, to fulfill the DHS requirements for immigration purposes, or for homeowners going through a divorce.

But many people don’t understand what an appraiser does and what they actually look for during an appraisal. If you’re looking to have a home appraisal completed for your property, read on to learn what an appraiser does and the four things an appraiser will look for during the home appraisal.

What is an Appraiser?

An appraiser is an independent third-party that provides an unbiased opinion of value for a property. Appraisers are licensed or certified by the state and they base their opinion of value on comparable sales and their knowledge of the market as well as their visual inspection of the property’s condition.

For appraisals conducted for lending purposes such as buying or refinancing a home, the appraiser is hired by the bank to protect the lender’s investment in the property. While typically the bank will charge you for the appraisals, since you did not pay the appraiser directly, by law, the appraiser does not work for you. According to the law, this also means that the appraiser cannot discuss the appraisal with you or provide you with a copy of the appraisal. They can only discuss it with the entity that ordered the appraisal which in this case is the bank. Your lender will share a copy of the appraisal with you as required by federal regulations.

For private appraisals done for non-lending purposes such as settling an estate or for a divorce, the appraiser works for the individual who hired them. The appraiser is able to discuss both the appraisal process and appraisal report with them and provide insight into how they arrived at their opinion of value for the property.

What Do Appraisers Look For?

Going through the appraisal process can be very stressful. Understanding the appraisal process and knowing what appraisers look for can help give you peace of mind.

Here are four things that appraisers look for.

General Condition of the Property

During the home observation, the appraiser will physically visit the property to see first hand the general condition of the property. The appraiser will look for obvious signs of deterioration as well as any updates made to the property.

If the appraiser sees potential signs of structural issues,the appraiser may recommend in their appraisal report that a structural inspection by a qualified individual take place. However, the appraiser is not a home inspector and is not qualified to inspect the mechanical systems of structure of the property for deficiencies or safety issues.


Amenities Included with the Property

The appraiser will also detail the amenities included with the property in the appraisal report. Typical examples of amenities include pools, outside kitchen, covered patios, and detached workshops.

When researching comparable or comp properties for the appraisal report, the appraiser will look for properties with similar amenities.


Square Footage of the Home

The appraiser will measure the property to determine the square footage and create a sketch of the exterior that will be included in the appraisal report. Square footage is an important part of determining your property’s value since it enables the appraiser to select the most comparable sales.


Location of the Home

The appraiser will also consider how external influences may impact the property’s value.

For example a house that backs up to an apartment complex, railroad tracks or a highway may sell for less than a home that is not impacted by any of these issues.


Get a Home Appraisal With Stafford Appraisals

A home appraisal is one of the most important aspects of a real estate transaction. Let Stafford Appraisals conduct an appraisal of your property. The first step is to collect information on your home including size, condition, and overall quality, as well as any amenities such as pools or outdoor kitchens.

Stafford Appraisals then compares your home with other similar homes in your neighborhood that have recently been sold. The appraiser will adjust for differences between the subject and comparable properties and perform an analysis of the market data to provide a range of possible values for your home.

The final step is to turn the range of values into a single value. Here at Stafford Appraisals, we use weighted averages and our experience in the market to take the range of values and turn it into a single opinion of value. Ready to get started? Contact us today to learn more.

Request an Appraisal Quote

Don’t see what you need or have questions? Stafford Appraisals is here to assist you throughout the appraisal process. Contact us today for expert answers to all of your valuation questions.