Learn More About the Home Appraisal

Here is a quick overview of the home appraisal process. Home appraisals are used by banks and buyers to get a real time value of the home and property based upon the recent sales in the area. I’m going to use a question and answer approach for helping you to learn more about this critical part of the home buying and selling process.

Whether you’re buying, selling or refinancing, getting your home appraised is a critical step in the process

How Much Time Will It Take?

An appraisal is performed by an independent third party licensed company. Its is usually ordered by the lender. However, it is not unusual that a cash buyer may want the property appraised to validate the price being paid for the home. The actual time an appraiser spends at the property may be as short as 30 minutes or several hours depending on the home’s size and complexity.

Why Do I Need It?

It assures your lender or the buyer that the money they will loan you is supported by the researched, observable facts about your home.

So it’s like an Home Inspection?

Unlike home inspectors, appraisers don’t check the operation and performance of the major systems of the home. An appraiser will be only looking to verify that the major systems like heating or air conditioning are in the house and seem to be working.

Who does the Appraisal?

Appraisers in California are licensed or certified who must complete a minimum of 200 hours of state regulated classroom education. In addition most have a Bachelor’s degree from an accredited college or university. A California Certified Residential (AR) with have 2,500 hours over 30 months of acceptable appraisal experience. There are 9,987 licensed appraisers in California as of November, 2019

What does the Appraiser look at?

These are the major components of the appraisal.

  • Recent sales of comparable homes
  • Condition of your homes physical features such as age, square footage, lot size, location, and views
  • Observable, exterior condition including cracks, damages, leaks, code violations
  • The observable; interior condition of walls, floors. windows and doors, plumbing and light fixtures.
  • Condition of the lot; landscaping, water features or pool, fencing or gates, driveways, and walkways.

What Can I Do to Boost the Homes Appraisal Value?

  • Make the home show ready. Tidy up inside and out (the appraiser will be taking pictures of the inside and outside of your property. If you have time; patch cracks, paint walls, and mow the lawn.
  • Provide a list of upgrades/improvements you made to the property. Keep the date and costs for any major improvements and upgrades. Receipts help
  • Make the appraiser comfortable: Keep any pets out of the way, make sure the temperature of the home is adjusted, and limit chit chat.
  • If you are selling and the buyer needs an appraisal for their home loan, I recommend have your listing agent attend the appraisal. Have your listing agent bring their home comps and explain to the appraiser the home’s market pricing, mention activity and offers on the home, or answer any questions the appraiser has for the home.

What Can I Do If I’m Not Happy With the Appraisal?

Most lenders review appraisals through a strict system of checks and balances that compares the appraisal report to other appraisals on all known sales in your neighborhood. This internal review system can catch discrepancies that should be investigated, but any information you can provide to your lender will help. More often than not the appraisal for the bank is the final say on the value of the home. The homeowner or buyer more often than not will have to use a different bank to obtain the loan or refinancing they need if the appraisal is enough for the loan they applied for.