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Preparing for an Appraisal Inspection

by Administrator on May 10, 2016 General Appraisal 1351 Views

I'm always struck by how many people run to make the bed as I start taking interior photos of their home.  I guess many homeowners and renters don't realize that appraisers must actually view and usually have to take photographs of the rooms in their home.  I always tell them, because it's true, that I'm not looking at their bedding and the clothing that are sometimes scattered on the floor, I'm looking for cracked walls, water damage and deferred maintenance which usually are things that can't be fixed an hour or two just before the appraiser arrives and definitely not when I have arrived.

I'm also looking at the overall condition of the building improvement but that usually means things like roofing, exterior paint, flooring wear, water damage, the condition of interior walls, kitchen cabinets and fixtures.  Also important are the site improvements and whether the property is well-kept.  If you collect old auto or parts I’m usually going to reduce the value to have a clean-up to bring the property to a marketable state.  So there is not usually one thing that makes a difference unless it's something serious and you already know about that problem, the serious problem that you should have repaired long ago will stick out like a sore thumb.

Many homeowners think that an appraisal inspection is a building inspection, but they are not the same thing.  Appraisers inspect to determine condition but they are usually not going to check to see if your heating and / or air conditioning units works. They are not going to check your garbage disposal, your range or your dishwasher.  There are lenders who require appraisers to check some items but most of the time appraisers are not going to do that.

Home inspectors on the other hand want to be able to tell the party who hired them what works and what does not work.  They often check the insulation, the roofing and even the appliances.  They also check for many types of contamination like asbestos, lead paint and even radon in some states.

Appraisers concern themselves with verifying square footage, room count and  making sure they have considered amenities like; in-ground pools, garages, basements, porches, patios, balconies, casitas and fireplaces.  Some amenities add considerable value while others do not. 

Commercial appraisal inspections are similar in that effective age is estimated by an appraiser and obvious problems are identified, but only those that are visible, hidden defects are not usually going to be discovered during an appraisal inspection.  When problems are identified and costs of repairs are known a real property appraiser will discuss the cost-to-cure the problem or problems in the report.  Reports are often completed for a subject property in its "as is" condition but appraisers can complete a report on a property that is hypothetical, it considers the property "upon completion" of specific repairs or maintenance.

Many residential and commercial real estate owners do not want to complete repairs that are needed on a real property prior to its sale.  What some individuals consider minor repairs are deemed major by potential buyers.  An air conditioner that needs replacement may be thought to be a $ 2,000 repair by an owner who has to pay for the parts or the entire unit with labor may get an $ 8,000 repair but, but buyers may expect a $ 15,000 discount off of the price because they have to deal with a problem that they would not have to deal with if they purchased another property.

Photographs of interior and exterior views of a property are generally all an appraiser needs.  You won't see appraisers carrying around all kinds of testing equipment.  A laser measuring device is usually as exotic as it gets for me. 

When appraisers see questionable things on a property, like a collection of leaking 52 gallon drums, most of us are going to discuss that fact with our client immediately.  If we are told to continue we will usually suggest that a building inspection be completed because "leaking 52-gallon drums were viewed by the appraiser and the appraiser suggests an inspection to determine if any detrimental environment condition exists."  So for appraisers we just have to discuss / disclose questionable factors and then note in the report that we "reserve the right to modify our appraisal opinion if problems are identified." 

I have appraised properties that had environmental waste dumped on them, that had water damage from the fire sprinkler system, I have appraised gravel extraction properties and I have even appraised properties that have had fire damage.  While I have never completed an appraisal on a building that has been stigmatized by something like a murder I have read about doing properties with relatively rare problems.  

In some circumstances there is really little that can be done to solve a problem before an appraiser arrives, but a phone call to the appraiser that disclose problems before the appraiser arrives is not a bad idea.

For more appraisal information contact Glenn J. Rigdon MA, MRICS, ASA is a Las Vegas / Henderson Nevada based appraiser who can be contacted via email or via his business website known as Appraiser Las Vegas  (, or you can also click on “Contact Us” on the home page of this website or visit my public profile at LinkedIn at

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