Understanding the Home Appraisal Process

By: Craig Berger

If you're planning to sell a piece of real estate, it is important to get your home appraised. While you can look at market trends for houses similar to yours to generate a rough estimate of what you think your home should be worth, only a certified home appraisal will give you a number that you can be truly confident about and one you will be able to present to potential buyers.

How An Appraiser Rates Your Home

The real estate appraiser will generally start by doing an analysis of the physical characteristics of the property. How much square footage is there? How much useable square footage? How many bedrooms? How many bathrooms? How much undeveloped land is part of the property? How old is the property?

He'll then collect sales data for similar homes that have sold in the same neighborhood. He will use these figures to gain a basic understanding of how much a property like this should be valued at in the current market.

Finally, there is a field inspection. The first part of the field inspection is the subject property inspection, which involves an exterior and interior inspection. The exterior inspection consists of taking pictures of the front and back of the home, the back and front yards and the street in front of the home. The interior inspection consists of noting the condition of the walls and fixtures within and making notes on anything that might increase or decrease the value of the property in this regard. He should draw a floor plan of the home during this part of the inspection. The second part is the exterior inspection of comparable properties, which he will use to help him estimate the final value of the property being appraised.

The Importance Of Home Appraisal

A good appraisal can make you thousands of dollars more than you might otherwise get. Be sure that the appraiser you use is highly trained and trustworthy. Try to get references from others who have used the appraiser successfully to be sure you are working with someone who will give you a true and honest accounting of your home's value. To make sure you get the most favorable appraisal you can, take the time to prepare for the appraiser's arrival. Give the home a fresh coat of paint, make sure the home is clean and take care of any minor repairs before he arrives.

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