How Does a Real Estate Appraisal Work?
Sometimes, a real estate appraisal is confused with a home inspection. However, a real estate appraisal report is not a home inspection report and the inspection for an appraisal is much less invasive and takes less time. The purpose of a real estate appraisal is to determine fair market value of a home. On the other hand, the purpose of a home inspection is to determine if there are any defects in the home.
Upon arriving at the subject property the appraiser will usually start outside by taking exterior photos from the right and left angles of both the front and back of the home. They will also inspect the exterior by eye from the ground to note the condition of the exterior features, including siding, windows, roof, foundation, decks, stairs, walkways, patios, and any apparent and obvious defects or needed repairs of such features (i.e. missing siding or curled or missing roof shingles, rotting decks, etc). The appraiser will measure the exterior foundation as well as view the property line, and will also scope out your neighborhood and take photos of your street either before or after your inspection as he/she will need to describe it in the report.
The appraiser will then continue inside. Once inside most appraisers will start at your front entrance and sketch your interior layout as they inspect by eye and note condition and materials of each room. The appraiser may choose to measure the interior of each room but it is not required. The appraiser will not be testing features and appliances unless they are performing an FHA appraisal which is more invasive which is described further HERE.
The appraiser notes the materials used on the walls and floors as well as additional features, such as fireplaces. The kitchen will be inspected for number and types of appliances (i.e. dishwasher, gas or electric stove, stainless or high end appliances, etc.) Bathroom tub enclosures will be inspected to note the material (i.e. fiberglass or tile.) Bedroom closets need not be viewed for privacy purposes, however, walk-in closets are customarily inspected. The attic will also be viewed if it is walk-up and accessible, as finished and heated attics are required to be inspected for their contributory value.
Full basements will be viewed, photographed, and inspected whether they are finished or unfinished. The heating system (furnace, oil tank) will also be inspected and photographed. If the basement is finished, photographs of all rooms will be required for their contributory value. The interior of garages, both basement and attached or detached, will also be inspected, viewed, and photographed.
After the inspection, your appraiser will write up a report that will ultimately determine fair market value of the home. If you are in need of a real estate appraisal for your Massachusetts or New Hampshire home, contact us today at (978) 423-4211 or email Michelle Landry at firstname.lastname@example.org.