What is an Appraisal?
An appraisal is simply an expert opinion of the value of something. Understanding the appraisal process will help you better navigate through your mortgage process.
What is the Appraisal Process?
The appraisal process is a series of actions that provides you with a final opinion of value.
First, your lender will order the appraisal (usually through a 3rd party). This puts them as the client, not you, even though in most cases you will be paying for the appraisal. You are entitled to a copy of the appraisal, which will be provided by the lender, after the appraisal is complete.
Next, the appraiser receives the order and does preliminary research of your home, neighborhood and market area. They will be looking for homes of similar “dominant features” or “market movers” that could be used as comparable to your home.
The appraiser then calls the contact listed on the order to schedule the appointment and gather any specific information about the home. At this time, it is a good idea to let the appraiser know the following:
– Have you added or subtracted any square footage since purchasing the home?
– Does the home have a basement? Is it finished?
– Have there been any updates or remodeling recently?
Any information that may have changed since the last transaction of the home is helpful to the appraiser in order to get a good idea of the property beforehand. Alert your appraiser if your home has had any added or subtracted bathrooms, bedrooms or garages. Be clear, concise and try not to exaggerate the condition of the home.
Do Not Talk About Value
An appraiser cannot talk to you about value. Don’t ask. Guidelines do not allow an appraiser to talk to you about value, it jeopardizes the process so it is best to not go there.
The inspection is the shortest part of the appraisal process. The appraisal inspection will take 15 – 45 minutes depending on the size and complexity of your home.
The appraiser will take interior and exterior photo’s, measure the property, and determine the quality and condition of your home. The appraiser will note any deferred maintenance, upgrades, functional obsolescence, and/or safety hazards.
Analysis and Final Report
After the inspection, the appraiser takes the data gathered and compares it to homes of similar “dominant features” or “market movers”. The appraiser will select homes and drive the neighborhood to gather additional data. All data collected is reviewed, analyzed and communicated into a supported value opinion known as a final report.
The final report is submitted to the 3rd party AMC, reviewed and transmitted to the lender who then provides a copy to you the borrower.
Now that you know what an appraisal is and you understand the process get to know How to Prepare for an Appraisal To Get The Highest Value.
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