How to Prepare for an Appraisal

For homeowners, a real estate appraisal is important to buying or selling their home. It allows the property transactions to occur among the buyer, seller, real estate agent and mortgage lender.

Before an Appraiser arrives, there are a few things you should know. By law, an appraiser must be state licensed to perform appraisals prepared for federally related transactions. Also by law, you are entitled to receive a copy of the completed appraisal report (from your lender if they placed the order and are the client).

What can you do before the appraiser arrives?  Have these documents ready:

  • Home inspection reports, including recent reports for termites, roofs, septic systems and wells
  • Brag sheet that lists major home improvements and upgrades, the date of their installation and their cost (for example, the addition of central air conditioning or roof repairs) and permit confirmation (if available)
  • A list of "Proposed" improvements if the property is to be appraised "Subject To Completion"
  • Information on "Homeowners Associations" or condominium covenants and fees
  • Written property agreements, such as a maintenance agreement for a shared driveway
  • List of personal property to be sold with the home as stated in sales agreement
  • Title policy that describes any encroachments or easements
  • A plot plan or survey of the house and land if not in public records
  • Information on the latest purchase of the property in the last three years if not recorded in public records
Once your appraiser has arrived, you do not need to accompany him or her along on the entire site inspection, but you should be available to answer questions about your property and be willing to point out any home improvements.  Here are some other suggestions:

  • Accessibility: Make sure that all areas of the home are accessible to take pictures, including the attic and crawl space
    • Housekeeping: Appraisers see hundreds of homes a year and will look past most clutter, but they're human beings too!  Keep in mind that photos are required of all areas of the home and exterior of the property
      • Maintenance: Repair minor things like leaky faucets, missing door handles and trim which may leave an impression of overall condition
        • FHA Inspection Items: If the borrower is applying for an FHA loan, be sure to ask your appraiser if there are specific things that should be done before they come. Some items they may recommend might be: Security bars installed to code or removed, remove peeling paint and repaint the effected area; provide inspection access to the attic and crawl spaces