Appraisal Q&A
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For most property owners, a real estate appraisal is an essential component to buying, selling, or refinancing of their home, commercial building, or farm. It allows the property transactions to occur among the buyer, seller, real estate agent, and the 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.

To facilitate the appraisal process, it is beneficial to have these documents ready for the appraiser (but no required). 

* Legal description or most recent tax bill (if readily available) 

* Floor plan of the house or building (if readily available) 

* A plat of the subdivision or land survey of the lot (if readily available) 

* Any information regarding the most recent purchase of the property (within the last three years) 

* Written property agreements, such as a maintenance agreement for a shared driveway or garage (if readily available) 

* List of any personal property to be included with the sale of the property (if applicable) 

* Home inspection reports, or other recent reports for termites, septic systems, wells, radon, etc 

* Provide a list of any recent improvements and/or upgrades, date of installation and cost 

* Copy of the purchase agreement, if a sale pending 

* Information on any ‘Homeowners Associations’ , or subdivision deed restrictions (if available) 

* List of ‘proposed’ improvements, if the property is being appraised ‘as will be’

Once your appraiser has arrived, for distraction reasons, you do not need to accompany him/her along on the entire inspection, but you should make yourself available to answer questions about the property and be willing to point out any recent improvements.

Here are some suggestions: 

* Accessibility: Make sure that all areas of the property are accessible, especially to the attic and crawl space area 

* Housekeeping: Appraisers see hundreds of properties a year and will look past most clutter, however they are human beings too – so a good impression may translate into a higher value 

* Maintenance: Repair minor things like leaky faucets, cracked windows, etc 

* FHA inspection items: Make sure that all areas of the property are accessible, including the attic and crawl space. FHA appraisals primary concern is not so much the cosmetic issues, but rather the safety, security, and soundness of the property. Examples of required repairs for FHA appraisals are: Leaking or worn-out roofs, inadequate egress from bedrooms, evidence of structural defects, and defective paint on houses built prior to 1978.