profile picture

How to Prepare for an Appraisal

To speed up the appraisal process, it's recommended to have these documents ready for the appraiser:

  • A plot plan or survey of the house and land (if readily available).

  • Information on the latest purchase of the property in the last three years.

  • Information on any written private easements, such as a shared driveway with a neighbor.

  • List of personal property to be sold with the building.

  • Title policy that lists encroachments or easements.

  • A bill for your most recent real estate taxes which should also contain a legal description of the property.

  • Home inspection reports, or other recent reports for termites, EIFS (synthetic stucco) wall systems, septic systems and wells.

  • A list of any major home improvements and enhancements, the amount of their purchase and date of their installation (for example, the addition of central air conditioning or roof repairs) and permit confirmation (if available).

  • Find copies of the current listing agreement, broker's data sheet and, if the sale is "pending", the purchase agreement.

  • Information on "Homeowners Associations" or condominium covenants and fees.

  • A list of "proposed" improvements when the property is being appraised "as complete".

Once your appraiser has arrived, you do not need to escort him or her along on the entire site inspection, but is usually helpful be available to answer questions about your property and identify any home improvements.

Here are some other tips:

  • Accessibility: Appraisers are very detailed in their inspections. Make sure that all areas of the home are accessible, especially the attic and crawl space.

  • Housekeeping: Appraisers see many of homes a year and are no strangers to clutter, but they're human beings too! A good impact can mean a better value for your home.

  • Maintenance: We often suggest fixing small things like leaky faucets, missing door handles and trim.

  • FHA and VA Inspection Items: In the case of your borrower trying to apply for either an FHA or VA loan, definitely ask your appraiser if there are extra things that should be done before they come. Some items they may recommend might be: installing a banister on all stairways, where paint is peeling it should be sanded and repainted, fixing leaky or dripping faucets, fixing broken windows or other glass like doors. FHA requires two earthquake straps on hot water heaters, a smoke detector in every bedroom plus an additional one in the main hallway, as well as one carbon monoxide detector on the same floor as appliances.