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Woodbridge Appraisal Service

Toll Free 1-877-VALUE20, Local 434-244-6415, Fax 434-244-6416

Residential Appraisal Specialists serving Virginia, Washington, DC and Suburban Maryland

How to Prepare for an Appraisal

For homeowners, a real estate appraisal is the linchpin to mortgage refinancing, and buying or selling their home. It allows the property transactions to occur among the buyer, seller, real estate agent and mortgage lender.  By law, you are entitled to receive a copy of the completed appraisal report from your lender.

Once your appraiser has arrived, you do not need to accompany him or her along on the entire site inspection, but you should be ready to answer questions about your property and be willing to point out any home improvements. If you are unable to personally attend the appointment, be sure to provide a phone number where you can be reached in the event there are questions.

Here are some other suggestions:

  • Accessibility: Make sure that all areas of the interior and exterior of the home are accessible.
  • Housekeeping: Appraisers see hundreds of homes a year and will look past most clutter, but they're human beings too! A good impression can translate into a higher home value. Additionally, more and more lenders are requiring interior and exterior photos. A little housekeeping on the day of your appointment will go a long way to making a good impression!
  • Maintenance: If time permits, repair minor things like leaky faucets & pipes, missing door handles and trim.
  • FHA/VA Inspection Items: If your borrower is applying for an FHA or VA loan, the appraiser will be checking a number of items required by the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). The appraiser is required to verify that the home is safe, secure and physically sound.  You may want to check the following items prior to your appraisal appointment to be certain you are ready: Look for and resolve any unsafe conditions; install handrails on all stairways; remove peeling paint and repaint the effected area; make certain all outlets and receptacles have appropriate cover plates; verify that mechanical, electrical and plumbing systems are functioning properly; insure windows are not jammed or painted shut; provide access to the attic and crawl spaces. If your property is vacant, be certain all of the utilities are turned on the day of your appraisal appointment! 

To facilitate the appraisal process, it's beneficial to have these documents ready for the appraiser:

  • A plot plan or survey of the house and land (if readily available)
  • Information on "Homeowners Associations" or condominium covenants and fees.
  • Information on the latest purchase of the property in the last three years
  • Brag sheet that lists major home improvements and upgrades, the date of their installation and their cost (for example, the addition of central air conditioning or roof repairs) and permit confirmation (if available)
  • A copy of the current listing agreement and broker's data sheet and Purchase Agreement if a sale is "pending".
  • A list of "Proposed" improvements if the property is to be appraised "As Complete".

A little preparation in advance will ensure your appraisal appointment will go smoothly, and will eliminate the need for additional follow-up appointments.

When the appraiser arrives at your home, he/she is at the beginning of the appraisal process.  The process starts with gathering information about your home and your neighborhood.  The appraiser does not develop an opinion of value until much later in the process.  At that time, the appraiser will thoroughly research market activity in your area, and determines how your home relates to that market activity. 

If your appraisal is to be used for the benefit of another party (lending institution, relocation company, etc.), the appraiser will not be able to discuss value issues or other details of the appraisal.  By law, these institutions are considered to be the appraiser's client and the appraiser can only discuss details of the appraisal them.  If you require any information about the appraisal, you must obtain the information from your lender, relocation company, etc.