How To Prepare For A Real Estate Appraisal

Real Estate Appraiser with Appraiser, Ken Rossman Cert General RZ3504

Your Home, For Most People At Least, Is The Single Largest Financial Investment.

When having it appraised, for whatever reason, it is of the utmost importance, for the appraisal to be as accurate as possible.

The value found can be like a double edged sword. It will be to your advantage to have the value be accurate.

 Too high and you could end up owing more than the property is actually worth, making it very difficult to sell or refinance (even if just to obtain a lower rate because of changes in the market or improvements to your credit score). A high appraised value might also eventually lead to higher real estate taxes. A low value might prevent you from being able to borrow against your real equity when needed.

So, what can you do to insure accuracy. It is generally not necessary to accompany the appraiser on their inspection of the property, however, there is no harm in asking the appraiser if he/she would like you to do so. It is important, however, that you remain available to answer any questions that might arise and assist the appraiser in obtaining access to utility areas, crawl spaces, basements, attics, garages, etc.

1. Provide the appraiser with a copy of your survey, all certificates of occupancy and any applicable permits ( for apartments, outbuildings etc. If there are any significant deed restrictions or easements, provide a copy of your deed or title documents. Copies of any applicable written property or community agreements, such as a maintenance agreement for a shared/common driveway, shared amenities, beach, docking or mooring rights etc.

2. If the appraisal is for a sale, provide the appraiser with a list of all appliances, window treatments and any other items of personal property (fireplace or pool equipment, etc.) that is included.

3. Provide the appraiser with a copy of the most recent tax bill(s), including full details regarding any exemptions.

4. Provide the appraiser with detailed information (specific description of what was done, date it was completed, approximate cost) regarding any improvements made to the property, particularly those which might not be readily apparent.  (IE: extra insulation in the walls and/or ceiling, custom building materials etc.) Provide copies of paid bills for costly improvements.

5. Provide copies of any recent inspections (IE: home inspection, professional engineer's report, termite inspection, cesspool/septic system inspection, water analysis/well inspection).

6. If the property is a condominium, home owners association or co-operative apartment unit, provide a copy of the most recent financial statement, details regarding common charges or maintenance fees (current monthly charge, anticipated changes, pending assessments and what is included). Make a copy of the prospectus, etc. available for the appraiser to view.

7. It could be beneficial, whenever possible to repair any maintenance issues prior to the day of the appraisal I.E.: broken windows, missing/broken door knobs, holes in drywall/doors, broken/missing light bulbs, leaking faucets/pipes, running toilets. Wherever possible remove unnecessary clutter.

8. Remove or secure any pets, particularly those that are large and might be perceived as potentially

threatening or dangerous.

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Sara Goodwin
Ashcroft & Associates - Portland, OR
Portland, Oregon Appraiser

Good points, Kenneth - Thanks -

When setting up an inspection appointment, I also like to let borrowers know that I will be taking pictures of the exterior and interior of their homes.  Often they ask what part of the cleaning they should concentrate on and so I let them know that a front and back exterior shot is mandatory, and that I will likely use photos taken of the/a bathroom, kitchen and amenities such as a fireplace.  I follow that up by informing them I will take pictures of all rooms, but most are for file records. 

Feb 03, 2008 12:18 PM #1
Kenneth Cole
Weichert Realtors Appleseed Group, 2043 Richmond Ave. S.I.N.Y. 10314. office phone 718-698-9797, - Staten Island, NY
NYS Licensed Real Estate Salesperson

Ken;  how does an appraisal written up at value above actual effect property taxes?  Is  this not private information?  How would the tax man find out what the appraisal value is?

Dec 16, 2010 01:34 AM #2
Robert H

The assessor does not have access to a private appraisal used for financing, estate, divorce, etc. So the appraised value would not matter as far as taxes.

The appraiser job is to assess the quality, condition and amenities that have a positive or negative impact on value.  Basically we see the home as a buyer would see it.  Better quality and condition are positives. Proximity to a busy street would be viewed as a negative. An appraiser doesnt need a homeowner to look over thier shoulder when inspecting a porperty.

As an appraiser it is nice have some of the  major improvement written out to have for the file but I have had homeowners with notebooks showing every time a light switch or light bulb was replaced.

If there is ever a question about something such as structural problems then a complete report by an SE helps define the problem.  Most HI's are not SE's so an home inspection does little to answer questions of a serious nature.

If you have a condo or HOA then assessments and amenties provided are pertinent. Documents and contacts should be provided.

Personal property is not part of a residential appraisal so it doesnt matter what is being left.

Mar 09, 2011 03:15 AM #3
Orlando Masis
Appraisal IQ (Real Estate Appraisal) in Austin Texas - Austin, TX
Austin Appraiser, for Real Estate

Three years later and still a good list.

I wonder how many agents go over  similar lists with their clients before the appraisal appointment?

Mar 24, 2011 07:00 PM #4
Dave Sullivan
Real Estate One - Birmingham, MI
Michigan Realtor with an investor viewpoint

Excellent information I will forward it if that is ok? thank you!!!

Dec 05, 2012 12:17 AM #5
Kenneth M Rossman
Appraiser, Ken Rossman - Boynton Beach, FL
FL Certified General Real Estate Appraiser #RZ3504

feel free to re-blog or forward...

Dec 05, 2012 12:50 AM #6
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Kenneth M Rossman

FL Certified General Real Estate Appraiser #RZ3504
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