Frequently Asked Questions


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What is an appraisal?

Simply put, a real estate appraisal is the process of developing a highly educated opinion of value (usually market value) for real property.  There are many reasons you may need an appraisal such as purchases, refinances, estate valuation and divorce.   Additionally, there are several factors that determine the value of your property. 

when do i need an appraisal?

There are many circumstances in which you may need an appraisal.  Most lenders require an appraisal when you purchase or refinance a home.  You may also need or want an appraisal before you list your home for sale.  Other reasons are divorce, bankruptcy, etc. See a complete list on our services page.

What will the appraiser be looking at when they visit my home?

During the site visit, the appraiser will be noting many features of the home.  They will measure the home to determine living space square footage and how that compares to county records.  The appraiser will be noting various construction features to determine the building quality of the home and the overall condition.  They will also note any specific features of the home or other improvements on the property.  Typically the appraiser will go in all the rooms of the home as well as additional structures and take photos for the report. 


What is the difference between an appraisal and a home inspection?

The appraisal determines the market value of the home. A home inspection determines the home's functionality and features.  An appraiser observes the home in its current condition, typically during a site visit.  A home inspector tests the home to determine if the features of the home function properly.  

How should I prepare for my appraisal?

The appraiser will be observing all areas of the home as well as any additional structures on the property, so make sure all areas are accessible.  While personal property doesn't affect the value of a home, an uncluttered space makes it easier for the appraiser to more accurately assess the home's features and condition.  In cases of a FHA or VA loan, the appraiser will be observing various appliances and systems to verify they are in working order.  FHA and VA loans also require the appraiser to access attics and crawl spaces. 

What is a comp?

The term ‘comp’ refers to a comparable property.  In the appraisal process, the appraiser will determine similar properties that have sold to be comparable to the subject property.  Comparable sale prices are then typically adjusted for features that may be different.  

How long does the appraisal process take?

The first step in the appraisal process is to determine the scope of the appraisal assignment.  If a site visit is required, we typically are book 1-2 weeks before.  After the site visit, reports are typically delivered 2 business days after the inspection.

How long is an appraisal good for?

The appraisal will determine the accurate value of a property for a specific date in time.  If the market is rapidly changing the appraised value may only be ‘good’ for a short period.  Typically appraisals are considered valid for 30-90 days depending on current market fluctuations.

Is personal property Valued in an appraisal?

Appraisers are trained to see beyond personal property items.  Typically if an item can be removed from the home it is considered personal property.  Common real estate personal property items are hot tubs, above ground pools and pre-manufactured sheds.

What are my improvements worth?

The real answer is, its depends.  The appraiser will determine the real estate markets reaction to the individual feature.  A pool may be much more valuable to the market in Southern California than it is in Alaska.  

What is the difference between an appraisal and a real estate agent comparative market analysis (CMA)?

A real estate agent’s comparative market analysis (CMA) is a useful tool to grasp a ball-park figure when deciding on a list price for a home.  An appraisal is prepared by an unbiased third party and provides specific comparable properties that are adjusted to show the most probable price the subject property would sell for (market value).  The appraiser is a licensed certified professional who’s sole job is to accurately determine values in an unbiassed manner.