How to Prepare for an Appraisal

For homeowners, a real estate appraisal is the linchpin to buying or selling their home. It allows the property transactions to occur among the buyer, seller, real estate agent and mortgage lender.

Before an Appraiser arrives, there are a few things you should know. By law, an appraiser must be state licensed to perform appraisals prepared for federally related transactions. Also by law, you are entitled to receive a copy of the completed appraisal report from your lender.

To facilitate the appraisal process, it's beneficial to have these documents ready for the appraiser:

  • A plot plan or survey of the house, utilities (well/septic tank/drainfield) and land (if readily available).
  • Written property agreements, such as a road maintenance agreement or shared well agreement.
  • Home inspection reports, or other recent reports for termites, EIFS (synthetic stucco) wall systems, septic systems and wells.
  • Brag sheet that lists major home improvements and upgrades, the date of their installation and their cost (for example, the addition of central air conditioning or roof repairs) and permit confirmation (if available).
  • Information on "Homeowners Associations" or condominium covenants and fees.
  • A list of "Proposed" improvements if the property is to be appraised "Subject-To Completion".

Once your appraiser has arrived, you do not need to accompany him or her along on the entire site inspection, but you should be available to answer questions about your property and be willing to point out any home improvements.

Here are some other suggestions:

  • Accessibility: Make sure that all areas of the home are accessible, especially to the attic and crawl space.
  • Housekeeping: Appraisers see hundreds of homes a year and will look past most clutter, however, interior photo's of each room is standard.
  • Maintenance: Repair minor things like leaky faucets, missing door handles and trim
  • FHA/VA Inspection Items: If your borrower is applying for an FHA/VA loan, be sure to ask your appraiser if there are specific things that should be done before they come. Some items they may recommend might be: Install smoke detectors on all levels (especially near bedrooms); install handrails on all stairways; remove peeling paint and repaint the effected area; provide inspection access to the attic and crawl spaces.


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