What does an appraiser do?

Is a For Sale By Owner (FSBO) prepared to understand and or deal with an appraiser, and are sellers aware of the challenges they may face by selling their home on their own.

This might seem beyond basic, but sellers might have preconceived notions, correct or incorrect about an appraiser’s role.

The appraiser, when hired by a mortgagte lender to conduct an appraisal for purposes of making the loan, is essentially the eyes and ears of the bank.

They are supposed to be unbiased and objective, and they will attempt to validate the contract sales price of the property (known as the “subject property”) for the lender making the loan.

This means they will do a physical visit to the property to measure the heated and cooled living space, take pictures and do a visual inspection of both the inside and outside with respect to lot, location view, etc.

Their walkthrough and documentation of the property will serve as the basis for their research to find three to six active, under contract and sold comparable sales that are in the immediate neighborhood as close to the subject property as possible.

But I’ve heard many a seller (and buyer) think they were some sort of inspector. Appraisers will not inspect or check any elements in the house, and they will not walk on the roof. If they observe something of concern, they will note it on the appraisal, such as a stain on the ceiling, tree limb on a roof or potentially a leaning fence.

An appraiser holds a state issued license based on completing coursework and passing exams to become licensed.

Depending on the state, they must work under a more experienced appraiser for a designated length of time before they can go completely on their own. There are different levels of appraisers based on their experience levels.

Things that could be noted also depends on the kind of loan being done. If the loan is Federal Housing Administration (FHA) or the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), they will closely scrutinize these kinds of things compared to a conventional mortgage.

2. What information should an appraiser have?

The appraiser will need an MLS sheet, tax record, any floor plan or survey documents as well as a list of improvements and upgrades that have been done to the home.

As your listing agent, I have the expertise to provide all of this to the appraiser before their visit. The more information the better. The goal is to make it as easy for the appraiser as possible.

They are typically running from appointment to appointment each day and inside numerous properties, and this helps make sure they have a handy reference and won’t omit anything.