Often when I speak with clients or borrowers, it seems as though they are unsure of what the appraisal process entails or what to expect. Here are a few general tips to help prepare for an appraisal
1) Plan Ahead On Projects – Lenders typically look for appraisal reports to be completed as-is. That means if you have just gutted your kitchen and now decide you need a loan to complete the project, you might encounter more difficulty.
2) Avoid ambitious last minute projects – I run into situations from time to time where the borrower knows I am coming so they quick, try to replace the flooring in the living room, the ceiling in the back bedroom, etc. Sometimes it turns out just fine, but other times there might be a hiccup involved that makes the project more difficult than initially anticipated, thus leaving the project unfinished at the time of inspection.
3) Room to Move – For interior inspections, the appraiser will be walking through your house top to bottom. The home certainly does not need to be squeaky clean, however the appraiser should be able to freely move around and adequately view flooring, walls, etc. to gain an accurate assessment of the condition of the structure. Additionally for interior inspections the appraiser will be measuring the dwelling to determine GLA and to sketch. To avoid problems it is best to have each room accessible.
4) Anticipate Photos – Lenders require photos and photos are crucial to an appraiser’s work file. For lending assignments appraisers will typically take photos of all main living areas (living room, dining room, kitchen, bathrooms, basement, attic) and usually outbuildings or garages as well. The photos taken or required vary by lender and by appraiser. For lending assignments I always inform borrowers of what photos will be taken when scheduling the inspection. The photos provide evidence of the condition and amenities at the time of inspection, this can be beneficial to both the appraiser and borrower. The photos are kept securely in the appraisers work file, not distributed online.