How to prepare for an appraisal inspection

How to prepare for an appraisal inspectionWhen I call a homeowner to set up the appointment to do an appraisal on their home the most common question I get is “What do I need to do before you get here?”. Today I thought I would share with you what I tell them so that it might help you the next time you get an appraisal.

Have a list of recent repairs or renovations- If you have made any repairs or renovations to your home in the past 15 years it’s a good idea to make the appraiser aware of exactly what was done. Examples of repairs and renovations include the following: roof replacement, heating and cooling replacement, new siding, flooring replacement, kitchen renovation, bath renovation, build out of basement or second story attic room, etc. Repairs and renovations reduce the subjects “effective age”, meaning that if the actual age of the house is 25 years, the home might appear to be 15 years old, which could help it appraise for a higher amount. It also adds livable space and value to your home.

Provide access to all areas of the house- The appraiser must have access to all areas of of the home including all rooms, basement, attics, and closets. If there is anything that is stacked up against doors that would prevent the appraiser from opening them it must be removed so that the appraiser can get into them. Appraisers must observe all areas to make sure every feature of the home is included and all finished area is included.

Provide a copy of the survey- A copy of a survey, while not necessary, can be helpful if your lot is irregular shaped or is larger than typical. This type of information is typically available online with the local county assessor, however if you have bought any adjacent property to increase the size of your site and have a survey, you may want to provide this to the appraiser to make sure they consider all of the property. Make the appraiser aware of how much land you have so they will know.

Make repairs on maintenance type items- Be sure to make repairs on maintenance items such as leaky faucets, missing electrical cover plates, missing light fixtures, and/or missing doors. While these types of repair items don’t always translate into large deductions in value they can give the impression that the home is in worse condition than it actually is. Don’t leave anything to chance, make the repairs before the appraiser looks at the house. If the appraisal is for an FHA loan some of these repairs may be necessary before the loan closes.

Recent sales- Are you aware of any recent sales that have occurred in your neighborhood that you believe are similar to your home? Appraisers have access to most sales information, however private sales do occur and they may be more difficult to find unless you know the address or owner, which you can provide to them. I am always open to any sales a homeowner can provide, however that does not mean I can use them. The sale has to meet certain criteria such as time of sale and comparability to the subject among other things. A sale is not always a comparable and the appraiser will make the final determination.

This is a list of some of the most important things you can do to get ready for the appraisal inspection. If you have questions about anything else please leave a comment below, 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.





  1. Karen N. says

    My home was built in 1920. It has been fully renovated. It sits on 2 acres creekside. There is a large park across the street. We have several out buildings and a workshop with electric. There do not seem to be any comparables even close to what our home offers and no houses of this age. How will this effect our ability to get our price?

    • The appraiser will need to be able to find sales to support any contract price that you come up with. It sounds like your property may be somewhat unique for the area. If there are no recent sales in the immediate area they will need to look in other competitive market areas to come up with sales.

  2. UptownRealtor says

    From my experience when an appraisal is done on a home that is working with a bank the appraisal is more likely to appraise at the selling price than if it is a cash purchase. What are your thoughts on this?.

    • A home that is under contract does provide another value indicator. In addition to the sales comparison approach and cost approach (if it is relevant) the subjects contract price should be taken into consideration. If the appraiser’s opinion of value without knowing the contract amount is within a reasonable range of what an arm’s length contract is written for I don’t think the appraiser is so good that they would come in at a value different from the contract.

  3. Stacey Mccabe says

    Does an appraiser typically look inside kitchen cupboards?

    • Appraisers might look inside kitchen cupboards to see the construction quality and/or to see if the plumbing is leaking for those cabinets underneath the sink.

  4. Cheryl Peterson says

    I live in Florida. I have a room in my home that was built as a “den”. This room has plenty of windows but, no closet. The only entrance to the garage from inside is through this room.I have heard conflicting information about the requirements for listing a room as a bedroom. Must it have a closet? Does the entrance to the garage prevent it from being called a bedroom? Thanks! Cheryl

    • Cheryl, the best answer to this question is “it depends”. If the home is older and in a neighborhood where the majority of homes are like this then it might not matter. If it is a newer home and in an area where buyers expect a closet then it probably will matter. Older homes were not always built with closets because people used wardrobes and if homes have stayed this way over the years, and people expect this, then it has probably become the norm. On the other hand, in today’s market with newer homes, builders include closets in their bedrooms and it is expected, therefore if a home was built without closets I think it would have a negative effect on its value. Regarding the pass through to the garage, I think buyers would have a problem with this because in order to go to the garage you would disturb the occupant of the bedroom and this is considered a functional issue with the floorplan.

  5. Hannah Wallace says

    We have a brand new home, just built on site. We are wondering if all the cabinets need to be cleared of things before the appraiser comes, such as kitchen ware and cleaning supplies.

  6. Great list, Tom.

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