Your home appraisal plays a vital role in the process of approving your loan. Needed when refinancing or selling your home, an appraisal value establishes your property’s worth in the current market.

Playing an integral part of this process is the appraiser. The appraiser is an independent and qualified observer who does not represent you or the lender. He or she makes an informed & educated valuation of your property.

The appraiser considers factors such as your home’s condition and amenities, safety features, location and neighborhood, the age of the basic systems, and the sale of other comparable properties in your area. Lender-specific appraisal guidelines are also weighed.

What can you do to prepare for your scheduled home appraisal?

Below are some tips to consider before your appraiser arrives.

SCHEDULE THE APPRAISAL AS SOON AS POSSIBLE

After your Lender or Mortgage Agent sends in a request, a local appraiser will contact you to set up your appointment.

Schedule the appraisal date for as soon as you and the appraiser can meet. Doing so will help ensure a faster closing for your loan.

In addition, your loan could undergo credit expiration and rate-lock expiration. As a result, you may need to provide additional documentation—and you know how much fun extra paperwork is.

On your appraiser’s side, he or she will need time to put an assessment together to establish your home’s value. While this usually happens in about a week, it could vary depending on how booked the appraiser’s schedule is at a given time.

 

WHAT SHOULD I EXPECT THE DAY OF THE APPRAISAL

  • Make sure someone is there to let the appraiser in. Industry regulations mandate that appraisers visually inspect the outside and inside of your home. That way, their valuations consider all aspects of the home, not just the items they can see from the outside. Just remember: The appraiser is an independent observer. They will consider what the housing market values, not necessarily what you find valuable.

  • Unavailable the day of your appraisal? That won’t be a problem. As long as there is someone at your residence to let the appraiser in, the assessment can continue.  If the appraiser is unable to enter your home, you will need to reschedule your appraisal date — which could cause delays in your loan approval process.

  • One of our appraisers will arrive at your home, introduce themselves and provide a business card

  • The appraiser will confirm the information that we have in our file and may gather additional information that allow for meaningful comparisons in the valuation of your home.

  • The appraiser will typically confirm the living area of the home, establish the floor plan by doing a walk-through, assess the condition, quality of finish, determine the home’s “effective age”, and document the report with photos as required by each Lender. You may be asked questions about updates, additions, renovations or modifications, special assessments, oil tanks, awareness of easements, etc. 

  • You can help in the process by making sure all areas & rooms are accessible.

  • This is an opportunity for you as the homeowner to briefly provide documentation on any updates or upgrades you have made to your residence, such as improvements to electrical or heating systems that may be more difficult to visually inspect.  It is helpful and will aid in the completion of the report if the appraiser is provided with, or can view, any of the following:

    • Survey and or build plans of the home, especially in cases of renovation or new construction.

    • Recent tax assessment or tax bill.

    • Copies of any work orders, quotes, invoices or receipts pertaining to the reno, materials used, etc.

  • Tidy up your home and property to put your best foot forward. While the value of your home will not be significantly affected by your housekeeping skills, it is a good indicator of your ability to take care of your home. It also makes the appraiser’s first impression of your property a more pleasant one.

  • Declutter and organize elements in each room to make them look more spacious. Clean up your yard, trim any unsightly overgrowth, and mow the grass for better curb appeal.

  • Take out the trash and use air freshener to cover any lingering smells.

  • And let light fill your house, either naturally or artificially.

  • Consider making minor repairs that can add up in the appraiser’s calculations for your home’s value. This includes, but is not limited to, fixing cracks in the wall, touching up noticeable paint, removing stains from carpets, and solving any bug problems.

WHAT HAPPENS AFTER THE APPRAISAL APPOINTMENT

Do not be alarmed that the appraiser only comes into your home to take pictures.

The purpose of an appraisal is to give your home a value based on as many relevant variables as possible. Most visits by an appraiser last around 20 to 30 minutes. To ensure that they do not overlook or forget any important permanent home features, appraisers take pictures of the home and property.

From there, most of the valuation process is done in the appraiser’s office. The appraiser researches county tax and assessment records, as well as other home sales that are comparable to yours. Features and their corresponding values are totaled up to become your home’s appraised value. **As an important side note, daytime is the best time to schedule an appraisal.

 

         If your appraisal was ordered through your bank or mortgage broker:

  • The appraiser will research the home and complete the appraisal report, usually within 5-business days, depending on the complexity of the report.

  • Once complete, the report is sent directly to the bank or mortgage broker.

  • At this point, you will follow up with your lender or mortgage broker directly or vice versa for with any questions about the report or home’s determined value as well as your financing and its approval timeline.

        If you ordered the appraisal directly through Talbot Appraisals for your own use:

  • The appraiser will research the home and complete the appraisal report, usually within 3-5 business days, depending on the complexity of the report. Printed copies of the report can be picked up at the office upon request. We do not mail these out.

  • Once complete, the report is sent directly in pdf format to you via the email address you provided.

  • The report can only be used for your personal use, in that it cannot be used for financial funding by a bank or mortgage broker.  The report is valid for 90 days from the date of the report.

 

WHO WILL GET A COPY OF THE APPRAISAL REPORT

Appraisal Standards require “client confidentiality” and only the “client” who ordered the appraisal for the specific  assignment are privy to the appraisal report.   Appraisals ordered by a bank, credit union, private lender or mortgage broker are delivered directly to the bank, credit union, private lender or mortgage broker.

 

AVOID THE NEED FOR A FINAL INSPECTION

A final inspection is needed when the appraiser is required by the Lender to come back out to verify the quality or condition of an item on their list has been addressed. A final appraisal inspection fee can be an additional couple hundred dollars.

To avoid this, ensure that crawl spaces and attics are accessible to the appraiser. Check that all utilities and heating systems are operational, that GFCI (Ground Fault Circuit Interrupter) outlets are installed in every bathroom and kitchen, and that all remodeling projects are completed.

Many financing appraisals have strict Lender guidelines. On top of any major problems found in the house, the Lender could require you to fix all minor repairs and safety concerns before signing off a value on your home. These repairs can include:

  • Safety or structural concerns

  • Cracked and peeling plaster

  • Standing water

  • Structural or water damage

  • Cracked windows

  • Missing shingles

  • Deteriorating brick or siding

  • Loose or missing handrails on steps, unsafe accessibility 

WHO OWNS THE REPORT EVEN THOUGH I PAID FOR IT AND IT’S MY HOUSE

Appraisals ordered by a bank, credit union, private lender or mortgage broker are the property of the bank, credit union, private lender or mortgage broker regardless of who pays for the appraisal. The lender may have told you this during the commitment stage of the lending process.

The report, or details contained within the report, may be released to the homeowner / purchaser by the bank, credit union, private lender or mortgage broker ONLY if their own policy permits.

The report copy is provided to the homeowner / purchaser at the bank, credit union, private lender’s or mortgage broker’s discretion and is ONLY provided by them and NOT by the appraisal company under any circumstances.

 

WHAT IF I DON’T AGREE WITH THE VALUE

Value Issues or disputes for appraisals ordered by a bank, credit union, private lender or mortgage broker should be discussed directly with the bank, credit union, private lender or mortgage broker.

Only the bank, credit union, private lender or mortgage broker can discuss with Talbot Appraisals any value issues or concerns.

Your bank, credit union, private lender or mortgage broker can certainly request another appraisal by an alternate appraisal firm, however, no refunds or credit are issued by Talbot Appraisal Services. We always stand by our reports and our value.

 

WHO CAN USE THE REPORT WHEN I ORDER IT MYSELF

 An appraisal report ordered by a homeowner, potential buyer, realtor, investor or any party other than a bank, credit union, private lender or mortgage broker is the property of the homeowner, potential buyer, realtor, investor. The report cannot be used for financing purposes.

Most often these types of personal-use valuation reports are ordered for asset management, estate planning, divorce proceedings, tax purposes, or to give an estimate of current market value for the contemplation of resale or title transfer.

 

WHO CAN USE THE REPORT WHEN A BANK OR MORTGAGE BROKER ORDERS IT?

An appraisal report ordered by a bank, credit union, private lender or mortgage broker is used for financing purposes and can only be used by the ordering client for financing purposes and is bound by the bank, credit union, private lender or mortgage broker and their own internal confidentiality terms and conditions.

 

HOW LONG IS THE APPRAISAL REPORT VALID FOR?

The appraisal report is valid for 90 days from the date of the report. This is due to constant and fluctuating movements and changes within the real estate market of which the comparable sales used within each report are heavily reliant upon.

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