How Do Real Estate Appraisals Work?
Learn About The Property Appraisal Process
At Houston Appraisal Company we’ve made the appraisal process fast and easy to understand for all clients. The following is a brief rundown of the entire appraisal process from start to finish so you can know exactly what to expect.
1. YOU SUBMIT A REQUEST FOR AN APPRAISAL
Engaging an appraiser to perform services for you is the first step of the appraisal process. Our online appraisal request form makes this process a breeze. You’ll answer a few questions about yourself as the client such as contact information and where you’d like to receive the final report. Then we collect basic information like intended use of the appraisal, any additional intended users of the report, and property details for the address to be appraised. The form should take less than 5 minutes to complete and once submitted, you’ll receive an email and text message notification of receipt.
2. DISCUSS ASSIGNMENT DETAILS WITH YOUR APPRAISER
Once our offices receive your request we place you in queue to be contacted; unless circumstances require this to be done over email, then we will contact you via phone. During this call we attempt to clarify all details about your appraisal request and answer any questions you may have about the process. While the majority of appraisal assignments we complete are all similar, there are special circumstances that require that we know about them ahead of time. Examples would include appraisals that:
- need an effective date different than the current date
- are meant to be used by multiple parties
- require additional research, studies or forms/addendums
- require specific instruction for accessing the property
3. SCHEDULE THE SITE VISIT
Most property appraisal types require that we visit the location to perform an in-person inspection. The exception to this would be “Desktop” and “Exterior-Only” appraisals. We’re typically able to schedule appointments for site visits Monday through Saturday and our staff will work with you to find a day and time that fits with your availability. Please use the following checklist to prepare for the appraisal inspection:
- ensure all rooms, garages, and outbuildings are accessible
- your appraiser will typically start on the exterior first so please keep pets indoors, after which they can be taken outside
- remove any debris or objects that may hinder the viewing or measuring of the exterior of the home
- if possible, please have vehicles in the garage or on the curb so no license plates are included in our photos
- perform any work needed on the exterior including maintenance such as mowing, trimming hedges, power washing, paint, etc.
- we take photos of the interior of the home for our reference – we typically include several in the report unless requested not to
- perform any interior maintenance such as painting, flooring, etc – cleanliness of the home does not factor into the appraisal
4. THE SITE VISIT
During your site visit the appraiser will be physically measuring buildings, visually examining structures, taking notes about your lot and adjacent properties, and finally reviewing the interior of the home. The process can take anywhere from 30 minutes to an hour and a half depending on the size of the home. Your appraiser will give you an estimate on the time it will take to complete the site visit before they arrive. We typically arrive within 15 minutes of the schedule appointment time – if we’re running later than 15 minutes we will try to reach you.
5. RECEIVING THE FINAL REPORT
Once the site visit is complete your appraiser will return to the office and begin working on the appraisal report. The process of compiling a final report requires much research and data analysis to be performed by the appraiser. Report are usually delivered within 3-5 business days after the site visit and are send via e-mail as a PDF document.
Frequently Asked Questions
When assessing the value of a home, an appraiser will take into consideration any improvements that would impact a buyer’s decision such as upgraded flooring throughout a home, high-end appliances, modern counter tops, bathroom updates, extensive crown molding, covered patios and outdoor kitchens, and additional garages count. Some improvements may cost more to implement than they can add to the value of a home making it beneficial to have a local real estate appraiser provide a cost/benefit analysis rather than assuming the owner’s tastes will conform with the current market trends.
Most often, appraisers will gather as much information as possible on on size, quality, and condition of the exterior before entering the home. Permanent fixtures, such as granite countertops, hardwood floors, sinks, lighting, and plumbing are given more weight in an appraisal due to them being fixed to the property. This information will help to assist the appraiser throughout the valuation and comparison process. To determine the gross living area of a home, an appraiser will typically take measurements from the outside first. Non-living areas, such as garages or covered porches, aren’t included in GLA, but are accounted for and considered in value separately.
Absolutely not!The appraiser is required to maintain confidentiality with the client, which would typically be you (if you undertook the appraisal) or the bank (in a mortgage related appraisal), not the local tax authorities.A private appraisal is solely for the use of the individual and isn’t shared at any stage with outside parties unless deemed for the benefit of the individual, such as an opportunity to contest tax values.
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#1 Independent Home Appraisers In Houston
We’ve Worked with Real Estate Professionals and Private Clients Throughout the Greater Houston Area Since 2005. Since Then We’ve Become One of the Highest Rated Independent Real Estate Appraisal Firms in Houston Based on Actual Customer Reviews.