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What is an Home Appraisal?

Aug 17, 2007
Understanding what an appraisal is, and how it is done can help maximize the appraised property's value.

Appraisers typically do the following when appraising a home or residential property (as compared to a business). First, they research the property anyone can get from public records regarding the year the home was built, and sometimes by what builder, the size of the home measured usually in square feet, and the number of bedrooms, bathrooms, and how large the yard is. This, along with knowing what neighborhood the home is located, gives them a base of knowledge.

Next, an appraiser will gather and compare other homes similar to the subject. Usually, the appraiser will look for three or more homes within a one mile radius, and that have sold within the past six months. Of course there are occasions where they have to reach outside these generalized boundaries or close them in because they get too few or too many homes. With in the Phoenix MLS, real estate can range from being tightly built, to large cotton or citrus farms that are a mile square themselves. These three or more homes then are the "Comps" or Comparable Properties that the appraiser will use to compare your home, or the subject property against.

Last comes a field inspection. For the subject property, the appraiser is going to walk the perimeter of the exterior then walk the interior. He will be noting both the good, bad and ugly. Hopefully, your subject home in Phoenix, Ahwatukee, Chandler or Gilbert will be the nicest in the neighborhood. The appraiser will also be photographing the outside of the property, possibly the inside and probably the street scene.

What to do when the appraiser makes his appointment to visit your home? Appraisers are human and although they try to work as objectively as possible, I know they can be positively or negatively influenced even if subliminally influenced by what they see and hear. So, clean up your property putting away offensive looking items. Mow the grass, they look at that. Straighten up and clean the inside of the home as well. Everything will help the appraisal.

Last, and this is important. If you received an offer for your home higher than you, after considerable research, determine the home's worth, you will have to justify this to the appraiser. Again, the appraiser thinks he is objective and 90% of what he records and compares is objective, but if you know positive things about your home that his "comps" may not have, type a list and leave it for him, or even hand it to him. Some of these items in the Phoenix area may include whether your home is on a preserve or against a golf course where his other comps are not. Be sure to let him know if and how much your "lot premium" was you paid. Or if you have just rehabilitated your home, make sure he knows how much all the new items were. He will not want or ask for receipts, but a list with an estimate if, say you put $50,000 of upgrades in your home, could just bring the appraisal in at the price you accepted.
About the Author
Philip Rosenberg
http://www.philsellsaz.com
Realty Experts, Inc
480-473-4532
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