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Appraisal Inspection Checklist

In this article, we will discuss an appraisal inspection checklist. What are the items an appraiser is looking for when they are appraising your home? With this information, you can prepare your home to increase the chances of getting a higher value. But first, let’s cover what an appraiser is.

What is an Appraiser?

According to the Federal Deposit InsuranceCorporation (FDIC). A real estate appraisal means a written statement independently and impartially prepared by a qualified appraiser setting forth an opinion as to the market value of an adequately described property as of a specific date(s), supported by the presentation and analysis of relevant market information.

A real estate appraisal is needed to determine the estimated market value of a house, condominium, commercial property, vacant land, etc.

How Long Does a Home Appraisal Take?

How long an appraisal will take depends on the size and scope of the property. Larger square footage will take longer for an appraiser to do their due diligence. It also depends on the condition and accessibility of the property. If your home is cluttered and difficult to access, it will take some time. You should expect 1-3 hours for a thorough walkthrough.

Appraisal Inspection Checklist

The appraiser researches recently sold properties in your area with similar features compared to your home. This process is called comparables. Comparables are sales records of recently sold homes in and around your neighborhood. 

It can also extend outside of your neighborhood a few miles depending on the information the appraiser needs. For example, if your property is in a rural area, the appraiser may need to look for comps further from your home to attain the value.  

Typically appraisers and real estate agents use at least three properties from the multiple listing service (MLS) for comparables. For the best results, only properties that have sold in the last six months are used.  

If no properties have sold within the past six months. Appraisers will increase it month by month until they get the information they need.

When working with a professional appraiser, expect them only to use forms approved by the FHA, Fannie Mac, VA, etc. 

Here is a list of items you will find in a uniform real estate appraisal report.

• Site/view

• Quality of Construction

• Design and Appeal

• Age of Home

• Condition

• Room Count Above Grade

• Gross Living Area

• Functional Utility

• Basement and Finished Rooms Below Grade

• Gross Living Area

• Functional Utility

• Basement and Finished Rooms below Grade

• Heating/Cooling

• Fireplace

• Garage and Carports

• Porches, Patio, Pools, Etc

• Special Energy Efficient Items

• Other

Site/View

The site view is the topography size of the site and the type of view from the home. Is the surrounding area very hilly, relatively flat, or does the site have usable space? As a matter of fact, a very hilly lot will not be of much use to most homeowners compared to a flat lot. 

There is a saying in real estate. It goes a little something like this: location, location, location. The view from the home does matter a lot. 

Also, if you have a lakefront property overlooking a vast amount of water, chances are your property is going to be worth more than a home overlooking your neighbor’s backyard. After all, we would rather watch a sunset overlooking a lake than your neighbor’s burning bbq. 

Design and Appeal

The design and appeal refer to the style of the home. Is it ranch-style, modern, contemporary, or Colonial? Is the layout in line with the neighborhood, and will it appeal to most buyers? This also covers the finishing details of the home (such as countertops, floors, and appliances)

Quality of Construction

What is the quality and construction of the home? Is the house made of brick or a wood frame? Is it a pier and beam or concrete slab? Most homeowners will typically pay more to buy a brick home on a concrete slab. 

In most cases, a brick home will last much longer than its alternative. How is the construction of the home good or bad? An important question for an inspector to ask. Because some homes are built by homeowners and handymen.  

Age of Home

This one is very simple on an appraisal inspection checklist. An appraiser needs to find out what the age of the home is. Was it built-in 1985 or 1923? They also need to know if the age, is in line with other properties in the neighborhood. 

If the age is significantly different, the value of the home may be adjusted. You will find that most homeowners are willing to pay more for a newer home. The reason is the home is fairly new so all the major items such as the roof, HVAC system, electrical, plumbing, and foundation will last longer. 

Condition

Condition of the home refers to the overall interior and exterior condition. Is the property in good standing where you can put it on the market tomorrow for top dollar. Or is the property distressed and in need of a lot of repairs. Most buyers will pay more for homes that are in move-in-ready condition. Distressed homes are typically sold below market value to investors and homeowners interested in a fixer-upper. 

Room Count Above Grade

Room count above grade refers to the number of rooms in the house. The rooms also need to be in a livable condition in areas that are above grade. The total number of rooms does not include bathrooms or any other rooms in the basement or attic. The number of bathrooms is in a separate section on the form. 

Gross Living Area (GLA)

The gross living area is the number of livable square feet of space inside the home above grade. During an appraisal, all rooms will be measured and accounted for. Rooms that are in an attic or basement are not livable spaces above grade. You will find that the larger homes in a neighborhood tend to fetch a higher price.

Basement and Finished Rooms Below Grade

During a real estate appraisal, the appraiser needs to identify whether or not there is a basement or finished lower-level rooms in the house. This area of the home is below grade. In Texas, homes have attics and no basements.  

Functional Utility

How does the home flow? Does the home have great functionality where bathrooms are in the areas where they are needed? Is the laundry room outside where it is not easily accessible? In addition, an appraiser needs to check the functionality of the home compared to other subject properties within the comparables. 

Heating and Cooling

It gets hot in Texas, so you need to know if the HVAC system is working efficiently. An appraiser needs to check the type and age of the system. In general, most HVAC systems will last around 15 to 25 years depending on the type of system. Does the home have a central system or window units? 

Garage and Carports

What is the type and size of the garage door? Is the garage being used for its intended purpose, or is it converted into a room? A carport is a semi-covered structure typically consisting of a fabric or steel roof supported by steel posts.

Special Energy Efficient Items

Does the home have energy-efficient windows and insulation? Maybe there is a newly installed solar panel. Again, these are not important factors compared to the life of a roof. However, they do need some consideration.

Fireplace

The number of fireplaces in the home and are if they are in working condition.

Other

Are they any other items or improvements that may affect the value of the home? Is there a modern kitchen, or is it outdated? What is the broader economic health of the area? Are jobs coming or leaving the local area?

Conclusion

This article covers all you need to know about an appraisal inspection checklist. What are the items an appraiser is looking for when they are appraising your home? And how you can better prepare your home for the best chances of getting a higher value.

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