Often during a home purchase one of the most nerve wracking time periods is waiting for an appraisal. What is an appraisal, and why do we need one?
An appraisal provides an unbiased opinion of value for a home as of a specific date. An appraiser looks at the overall marketability of the property for resale under normal market conditions. Your lender will require one on any home you purchase or refinance. Other times an appraisal might be needed are during a divorce, evaluating an estate or during a bankruptcy.
Here are some things an appraiser looks for when evaluating a home-
- Type and condition of roof, trim, soffit, fascia, gutters and downspouts
- Type and condition of exterior siding
- Types of windows and are there screens
- Type and condition of any porches
- Type and condition of garages, carports and driveways
- Condition of surrounding properties and general price range
- What utilities serve the home, are they private or public
- Makeup of neighborhood
- Measurements of exterior
- Style of exterior
- It the community and HOA, gated community, deed restricted, public or private roads
- Detailed information on number of rooms, dimensions, type of flooring, walls, ceilings and condition
- Square footage
- Materials and condition on bathroom flooring, walls, fixtures and exhaust fans
- Handrails on stairs
- Condition of kitchen and appliances
- Number of bedrooms and closets
- Attics- are there floors? are they insulated? is there water leakage from roof?
- Type of insulation in walls and roof
- Air Conditioner, what kind of system, age, condition
- Electrical systems working and condition
- Plumbing leaks materials used in pipes
- Physical deterioration that can be observed
- Functional obsolescence
An appraiser will also review the survey and legal description of the home. If there is a well or septic tank they may require a water purity test. If the appraisal is used for the sale of a home they will request a copy of the sales contract as well.
They will use comparable recent sales from the area of similar homes. Depending upon the situation they may search sales records from three to twelve months previously.
This list comprises most things an appraiser uses to determine the value of a home, but each case is different so additional criteria may be required.
Kelly Harden, Realtor®
Century 21 Shaw Realty