10 Things to Know About a Home Appraisal


Appraisals Take Just 20 Minutes

property inspection
Appraisers must physically examine a property to determine size, number of bedrooms and bathrooms, plus any upgrades or defects it may have. ftwitty/Getty Images

Appraisers are usually on a tight schedule, especially in a hot housing market. Noble Fields, a certified appraiser trainer in San Francisco, California, says that appraisers will only spend about 20 minutes at the actual home. The rest of their work happens back at the office.

Appraisal reports follow the Fannie Mae Form 1004, which requires that the appraiser physically examine the property to confirm the size of the property, the number of bedrooms and baths, total square footage of the living area, any upgrades to or defects of the house, and more. An experienced appraiser knows exactly what he or she is looking for and moves quickly through the home, checking off each item on the form.

Because appraisers are short on time, it's important for the seller's real estate agent to be present during the appraisal to point out important renovations or upgrades that may increase the appraisal value, or account for damage or needed repairs that could lower the appraisal value.

Legally, brokers and lenders can offer their opinions about the value of a home, but they're not allowed to dictate to the appraiser what they want the value to be.