Does the appraiser really have to look in my closets?

I was looking into my blog stats recently and ran across a question that someone had typed into their search engine that led them to my blog. The why do appraisers look in closetsquestion was “Does the appraiser have to look into my closets? I thought this was such an interesting question that I decided to write a post about it. If one person was curious about this then others might be also, right?

At first it might appear that appraisers are very nosy, looking into every closet, but nosiness has nothing to do with it. During an appraisal inspection we are required to observe the property completely in order to calculate the total gross living area of the home as well as provide a detailed description of the house and its improvements. We do this by completely measuring the outside of the house which is simple for a one level home, however when there is a second floor we must get those measurements as well. If a house has a full second floor, meaning that the upper level is the same as the first, we can take the measurements we got for the first floor and not worry about measuring it. If the second level is less than the first then we have to measure from the inside, and it is with this type of home that we may need to look into closets to measure them so we get the most accurate calculation of living area. If we didn’t measure the closets our square footage calculations would be low and this could result in your home appraising for less than it should since some of the largest adjustments made in an appraisal are for differences in square footage.

2 story home vs 1.5 story home

In addition to looking into closets to get measurements for accurate square footage, we must also look to make see if there is another room on the other side of the door. Early in my career I passed up on opening a door because I thought it was a closet, however it was a bath. This was a two story home so I didn’t need to get the measurements but I did need to include the additional bath, which I did not. Again, adjustments are made for the number of bathrooms and leaving one out could result in the house appraising for less than it should. Another consideration is a trend in building “secret rooms” into homes. These are rooms that may not be easy to get to because the doors are hidden, like you might see in the old Scooby Doo cartoons, so if you have one of these in your home it would be a good idea to let the appraiser know so you get full credit for it.

Can you see now why it is a good idea for appraisers to look into closets and do a complete inspection of your home? If you have any other questions about how or why appraisers do their jobs leave me a message, I would be glad to answer them for you.

If you have any real estate appraisal related questions you can call me at 205.243.9304, email me, or connect with me on Facebook., Twitter, or Youtube.

 

Comments

  1. I have been an appraiser for a few years now and you’d be surprised what I have found. The majority of the time -w I open a closet I find typical closet contents.- but last year I was surprised when I opened and found a hole in the closet’s floor Ok – what’s this– ahh I see a white bucket in the hole, being used as a toilet I guess I could call this a 1/4 bath. Yuk.

    • Wow Terre, that is the first time I’ve heard that one! You really never know what you will find. I guess that loan didn’t go through? Thanks for sharing. 🙂

  2. I like to look in closets to check out the ceiling. Sometimes it’s easy to spot water damage there.

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