Residential Appraisal Tips

Generally speaking, an appraisal is an unbiased estimate of market value.  Determining an exact value, however, is very scientific and an appraiser has many specific guidelines to follow including the following:

  • A general rule of thumb is that the comparables used for an appraisal should have sold within the last six months and be within one mile of the subject property.
  • An appraiser is required to use two comparables that have sold within the last 90 days and at least two properties that have not yet sold but are active or pending listings.
  • An appraiser is not to use foreclosures or short sales as “comps” unless they are the only comparables available.
  • Appraisers are able to be more lenient than ever regarding repair items, however, if the home has an issue that affects safety, the appraiser must require the repair.  The rule here is the home must be safe, sound, and habitable.

 Another appraisal issue that needs to be on your radar screen is renovations.  It is more important than ever to inform the appraiser of all subject property renovations and when they were done.  Sending over photo’s takes it to another level and is super helpful to the appraiser.

 Also, more and more consumers are accessing Zillow for property information.  Be aware that this system relies on tax assssor data only and, thus, is rarely accurate.  A quick search of comps in the neighborhood will always lead to a more reliable estimate of value. 

These are a few good tips to follow to make the appraisal process as smooth as possible!

May 8, 2012 by · Leave a Comment

About James

James A. Williamson is currently the Sr VP of Sales Development for Shelter Lending Services (formerly Fairfield Mortgage). James joined Shelter in 1994 and was the company's top Loan Officer in GA for 20 straight years helping over 2500 families finance their homes. James now oversees an incredible group of Loan Officers in Atlanta while further building Shelter's Atlanta business.

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