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Tips on Preparing for the Appraisal

The appraisal property visit will be scheduled with the appropriate person after all preliminary research about the property have been completed. It is nearly the final component of the appraisal development process. By the time we arrive we already have all pertinent information that is available from public sources and private sources utilized for research.

Scheduling is done by calling the owner, Realtor, or other person who will arrange access to the property. It is important that effective contact information be provided to your lender who will forward the information to the appraiser. Otherwise, the process can be substantially delayed as we set aside all other work to obtain information necessary to arrange to visit the property. Cellular and home numbers are terrific. Work numbers are often not effective and, as you would expect, we do not leave messages at your place of employment to call an appraiser regarding your financing.

Appraisers are not home inspectors and do not perform any type of inspection(s). Rather, we observe, document, and report information about a property in conformity with federal guidelines; lender requirements; and differing loan criteria. Your lender is able to provide you with specific information regarding the type of appraisal information that will be needed for your loan if you are interested.

The appraiser will measure your home from the outside and document information that is needed for the appraisal analysis and report. This is usually the first thing to be done after greeting the homeowner. It is not necessary that you help or "hold the dummy end of the tape measure". We have equipment that makes the process efficient for us alone and help from others is not necessary. There is a lot of detailed information that has to be documented and any distractions during the process can result in omitting important items and a lot of unnecessary additional time to return to the property later in order to complete the information.

The appraiser will have to observe and document all components of the property. Access is needed to the back yard and you should ensure areas are unlocked and able to be accessed such as all crawl space areas, garages, storage buildings, barns, and gates. 

It helps move things along if your pets are managed and not an issue. It always is appreciated if you have a relationship with a close neighbor to have their dogs managed as not be an issue as well.

Once the outside is complete, the appraiser will come inside the home to document information about the interior. This will include sketching the rooms and documenting the interior materials, equipment, room count & layout, improvements, and other pertinent information.

Photos of the outside, surrounding area, and the inside of your home have to be included in the appraisal report. Some loans require attic and crawl space photos too. Lenders and investors require them and can not proceed with the loan processing if any are missing. We see many homes in any given week and take hundreds of photographs. To an appraiser, it's a matter of routine that is repeated over and over throughout the days, weeks, and years. But, for a home owner, having your personal spaces photographed by a stranger reasonably can be a new experience.

Most homes that we see are occupied either by their owners or tenants. It is reasonable that they would include personal items and be actively providing all the benefits a home can provide. It may help ease any anxiety about the photographs to know beforehand that they will be taken and to understand that it is done for all appraisals and has been done so for several years now. Times have certainly changed  since computers and digital photography have become an extension of ourselves!

Once the inside has been documented the appraiser will understand your home and be able to discuss matters of importance with you. Appraiser's questions about updates, repairs, and items you would like to address too are commonly discussed. We also ask about items that may be specific to your neighborhood such as street maintenance fees, private roadway maintenance agreements, or community sewage treatment systems to name a few.

Once the property visit is completed, the final steps of the analysis and the appraisal report will be completed. The report will be delivered electronically directly to your lender. Federal law requires that the report be communicated to the lender/client only.

We provide services for many clients and handle a relatively large caseload each week. 10 business days is typical for the appraisal process to be completed. However, you can rest assured that the report will be delivered on time or sooner to your lender who will be expecting delivery by a prescribed date. They will be working during the interim to complete your loan processing.