Here’s a common question about inspections. ‘How long will my appraisal take?’ I’ve heard everything from ‘ an appraisal only takes a few minutes’ to ‘plan to be available for a few hours’.  Actually what people mean is…how long will the appraiser’s inspection take.  If your appraiser is only at your home for 5 or 10 minutes, then I would be a little concerned!  An appraiser cannot adequately inspect your home in 5 to 10 minutes

I would say to plan on the inspection taking – on average – around an hour, with the main variable being the size of your home and how many questions you have for the appraiser.

Your appraiser will measure the exterior of your home and take exterior photos.  He will also take a look inside, make notes of the interior finish of every room, take notes on any upgrades or special features and also take interior photos.  He will look at your heating and cooling systems, your water heater and other appliances or systems.  He’ll also check your fuse box and make notes on your electric service.

Your appraiser will also inspect the attic, the carport or garage and the crawl space or basement.  He will also inspect any permanent out-buildings (detached) such as additional garages, pool house, barn, office, etc.

The appraiser will also sketch the interior layout or floor plan, and he will sketch the exterior of the home when he takes the perimeter measurements.  While working on the exterior, the appraiser will pay particular attention the topography and whether rain is adequately diverted away from the home.

A good appraiser will also take time to talk with the homeowner at the time of inspection.  The seasoned appraiser will give the homeowner time to share with the appraiser anything the homeowner thinks is important about the home.  Perhaps the homeowner has recently replaced all of the appliances or installed a new air-conditioning system.  Perhaps they recently upgraded from carpet to hardwoods.   The homeowner can provide valuable information for the appraiser and, at the same  time, the homeowner will feel more confident  in the appraiser if they have adequate time to speak with the appraiser and have their questions answered.

Now do you see why I said there is no way an appraisal can be done adequately in ‘just a few minutes’?  If you allot around an hour, give or take, you should be just fine.  After all, you want the appraiser to take all the time he needs to complete the inspection correctly the first time.  The more impressed he is with your home’s assets,  upgrades, finishes and overall condition, the higher your home value.

Sherie Smith

Certified General Real Estate Appraiser and Consultant, Copyright 2010

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