Home Appraisal Checklist

Posted by Jeffery Sweet on Thursday, August 8th, 2019 at 8:00am

Home Appraisal ChecklistAre you looking to relocate to Nampa?

Without a doubt, the first thing on your to-do list should be to look for Nampa Idaho homes for sale that are currently on the market. This will help you to get a broad sense of the fair market value of properties in the area.

Beyond casual price browsing, a much more accurate valuation can be had by getting a house appraised by a licensed appraiser. In fact, this is one of the most important final steps in the home buying process. In terms of timing, getting a professional valuation is best done after you and a seller come to an agreement, but before you start working with a lender. This will give you a solid number to work with between the loan processing and the final approval of the refinance process.

What is a home appraisal?

A home appraisal is conducted by a licensed appraiser to assess the value of a property for sale. An appraiser will visit your home to assess its condition and take inventory of certain features, such as:

  • The overall size of the house
  • The overall condition of the property
  • The landscaping quality
  • Total number of rooms, including bathrooms and bedrooms
  • The quality of lights and the view
  • The number of installed fireplaces in the house
  • If there are additional amenities, such as a swimming pool
  • The condition of the basement
  • The finishing details of the property, such as hardwood tiles, granite countertops, and lighting fixtures

What is an appraiser and what do they do?

Appraisers are certified or licensed professionals who are qualified to provide an opinion of value. They must be certified or licensed by the state for them to give appraisals to federally regulated lenders. This means you will be working with a highly trained professional who understands the current real estate market trends in your area.

Banks or lenders will assign an appraiser to your case to make sure that they are lending you the right amount for a property. At the same time, an appraisal helps assure homeowners and buyers that they are getting a fair deal and an unbiased price for the property.

How long does a home appraisal take?

Depending on the size of a property, a home appraiser can take from 20 minutes up to two hours to appraise a house. They will use this time to take photos of every part of the property to document its condition.

The appraiser will then create a written report of all their findings after they have completed the physical appraisal of a property. This report helps mortgage lenders decide how much they will lend a borrower. This process can take three to five days because the appraiser must confirm that all the data on a report is correct.

How to prepare?

To get the most out of your property, have some home renovations done. Or, you can do simple tasks, such as the following.

Home Seller appraisal checklist

  • Review recent home values and sales in your neighborhood
  • Use the future competing homes for sale and the homes that have sold as a measure to figure out what upgrades to implement into your home.   Be sure to remember addresses of homes with these upgrades. 
  • The day of the appraisal, clean your home!  While no appraiser would ever admit to being biased, a clean home will appraise higher than an unclean one. 
  • If possible, make it as easy to see your home.  A happy appraiser is often better than an unhappy one. 

Refinancing homeowner checklist

  • Curb appeal is included in appraisals, so make sure that your landscaping is close to perfect
  • Repainting rooms or repairing damaged drywall factors in the valuation of your home
  • Ensure that every wall outlet, vent, and light switch works
  • Document all of the recent home improvements done on the property and their estimated dates and prices
  • Provide a copy of your previous appraisal, if there are any
  • Ensure accessibility to all rooms in the house
  • Coordinate the appraisal appointment to accommodate the appraiser's schedule.
  • Give the appraiser enough time to do their job without distractions

What is the $500 rule?

It is common practice for appraisers to value a home by $500 increments. That is, they start the value at $300,000, for example, and then increase it to $300,500 as they find things around a home that add to its value.

With this in mind, you should definitely renovate if you are selling. Even the smallest changes will bump the selling price of a property by $500. Do the same if you're refinancing your home.

This may seem a disadvantage if you’re buying. However, if the changes made suit your needs, you’re still getting a good bargain.


A low appraisal is an advantage to buyers, especially if the property is overpriced. With a solid appraisal in hand, you can simply ask the seller to match the property’s appraised value - or the deal falls through.

However, it could spell trouble for sellers and those who want to refinance their homes. A low appraisal, after all, means higher loan to value (LTV), which can seriously affect the interest rate of a home refinance.

If you’re not happy with the appraisal you got, you can always challenge it by presenting supporting documents showing better comps to measure your home against. A local real estate agent or financing expert can help you navigate through the intricacies of the real estate industry. So, if you need help, feel free to contact us for expert assistance.

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