How to Prepare for an Appraisal

As an experienced real estate appraiser, I understand that a real estate appraisal often serves as the keystone of home buying or selling, facilitating transactions among buyers, sellers, real estate agents, and mortgage lenders.

Before my arrival as your appraiser, it’s crucial to remember that by law, an appraiser must hold a state license to conduct appraisals intended for federally related transactions. Additionally, you’re legally entitled to receive a copy of the final appraisal report from your lender.

To streamline the appraisal process, it’s helpful to have the following documents readily available:

  • A plot plan or survey of your property (if available)
  • Details on the most recent property purchase in the last three years
  • Written property agreements (such as a shared driveway maintenance agreement)
  • List of personal property included in the home sale
  • Title policy outlining encroachments or easements
  • The most recent real estate tax bill or property’s legal description
  • Home inspection reports or other recent reports like those for termites, EIFS wall systems, septic systems, and wells
  • A “brag sheet” enumerating major home improvements, their installation dates, and costs, with permit confirmation (if available)
  • Current listing agreement, broker’s data sheet, and a Purchase Agreement if a sale is underway
  • Information on Homeowners Associations, condominium covenants, and fees
  • A list of proposed improvements if the property is being appraised as complete.

When I arrive for the appraisal, it’s not necessary for you to shadow me throughout the site inspection. However, being on standby to answer queries about your property and point out any home improvements is appreciated.

A few more tips include:

  • Accessibility: Ensure all areas of your home are accessible, particularly the attic and crawl space.
  • Housekeeping: A tidy home can leave a favorable impression and potentially influence the home value.
  • Maintenance: Attend to minor repairs such as leaky faucets or missing door handles.
  • FHA/VA Inspection Items: If you’re seeking an FHA/VA loan, inquire about specific preparatory tasks before the appraisal.

For Commercial Properties: Please prepare a current rent roll or lease copies and an annual expense report for the property.

Upon arrival, I may measure the building exterior, note observations, photograph the building, and its features, which can include counting parking spaces and noting elements like garbage enclosures and parking lot lights.

Just as in residential properties, I’ll complete an interior walk-through, sketching out the rooms and documenting interior components. This holistic approach ensures an accurate, fair valuation of your property, offering peace of mind during this significant transition.


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