Real Estate Appraisal-Tips on Getting Prepared

Getting ready for an typical real estate appraisal of a home is not complicated. Once the loan application has been approved, an appraiser is assigned to the property either by the lender, or in the case of loans for veterans, by VA itself.

The lender must provide the assignment order form along with a sale contract. Recent changes in the law require that appraisers dealing with a sale situation must review and analyze the sale contract. Refinances and other types of requests will of course not have a sale contract.

Ready access to the property must be available to avoid delays. Most appraisers are members of the local Board of REALTORS and normally possess a lock box key. Our experience with tenant-occupied properties is that it works best when the listing agent directly assists in setting up appointments. This helps the tenant feel more secure since they are already familiar with the agent.

It is always helpful for home owners to have their homes clean and in order. Appraisers are by tradition looking at a home from the viewpoint of a buyer, so a good impression is important. By the same token, appraisers often encounter a home when the owner is in the process of moving out, so boxes and other items are sometimes in disarray. This is okay. Appraisers understand this and are more concerned about being able to have full access to all areas, including the garage, than how the moving items look.

The appraiser is likely going to need to take measurements of the interior of the garage and look into water heater and AC closets, so be sure these areas are as clear and accessible as possible.

The appraiser’s worst enemy (next to a thunderstorm) is thorny or impassible shrubs or trees next to the house. They need to be able to use a measuring tape along each outside wall.

Dogs that bite are a problem but sometimes owners do not realize that their otherwise trusty and gentle pet may bite a stranger too. Dogs should always be penned up somehow and not left in the back yard when the appraiser arrives. It is best not to pen the dog inside the home or the garage unless they are confined to a cage, since the appraiser will need to enter all rooms and the garage.

Copies of seller disclosure notices are always welcome along with lists of recent sales and other marketing information. It’s hard to give an appraiser too much information. Especially useful is a copy of a recent survey.

It is not normally necessary for the owner to be absent during the appraisal. Most appraisers don’t mind if someone is there, especially when there are pets around. Burglar alarms should always be left off if the appraiser is allowed to visit the home when no one is there.

Real estate appraisers are pretty easy going folks. They want and need your cooperation as much as you do theirs. The modern appraiser typically approaches a job with an open mind.