An Appraisal: the act or process of developing an opinion of value.

Hopefully the following (along with the FAQ page) will help you understand the basics.

Neighborhood streetaerial view

The key items that appraisers are looking for are:

  • Any locational issues, such as backing or fronting to a busy street, freeway, railroad tracks, school or commercial/shopping center,
  • Location to freeways, schools and shopping,
  • Is the market going up, down or sideways,
  • What are the neighborhood market boundaries and why,
  • Size of home, lot size, views, landscaping, in-ground pool or spa or other amenities,
  • Interior quality and condition of home, type of counters, flooring, cabinets, appliances, recent interior or exterior painting, bedroom and bathroom count,
  • Develop a list of all the improvements and features of your home including an approximate time frame (year) the improvements were made. Provide this list to the appraiser when they come to your property it will help you and the appraiser.

The appraiser wasn’t at my house very long, what else do they do?

  • Appraisers typically will spend about 1 hour in research of sales and the subject property. Custom homes or property on acreage research can be up to 2 to 2.5 hours.
  • Spend time driving to and from the office to the site, then drive the comparable sales. In tract homes this may only take 30 minutes to see the sales for custom homes or properties on acreage this can take up to 2 to 3 hours depending upon location.
  • Once back at the office they download the report data, finish the sketch and upload the photos that were taken of the interior and exterior of the home as well as sales.
  • Then they write up the report. This can take from 3 to 10 hours depending upon the complexity of the assignment, the amount of data and the amount of time spent on developing adjustments. Usually most appraisals will take around 8 hours total.

For Lending purposes there is an important factor identified as the Definition of Market Value. The definition includes “The most probable price, which a property should bring in a competitive and open market under all conditions requisite to a fair sale”. The key words are “most probable price”, not highest not lowest but most probable.

Key item if selling your property, listen to your Real Agent. Don’t you set the price, typically when the seller sets the price it sits on the market and doesn’t sell or it won’t appraise if an offer is received.

The other item that most appraisers will do is attempt to bracket the subject property with sales that are larger, smaller, less amenities, more amenities or the same floor plan if in a tract home community. The object is to present to the lender (appraiser’s client), what is going on in the market and provide insight into the market and how the subject fits within its market.

When the appraiser arrives at your home, let them do their job, typically most will want to work alone as they have a method to their site visit. Let them know that you want to talk to them when they are done. Hand them your list of improvements or upgrades and then ask a few questions that you might have.

Questions not to ask the appraiser:

  • What value will my home come it at?
  • How much does my pool or view add?
  • Don’t you think my house is beautiful or the best house in the area, neighborhood or city?

Asking value questions or trying to pin the appraiser down on how great your home is, will typically lead to an uncomfortable response. Appraiser isn’t being rude but they can’t discuss value with you if a lender is involved. If you hired them for a private party appraisal, they probably won’t have an answer for you until they finish their 8 to 10 hours of work. So make sure they have your amenities and let the property stand on its own. Nothing you can do to change that during the appraisal.

I hope the explanation of the Appraisal Process was helpful to you in understanding the appraisers’ role in estimating your property’s value. If you have any questions please email ( or call me at (909) 262-3434.