Why did the appraiser only spend 15 minutes at your house?

I had a friend call me recently to share his experience with an appraiser. This friend is doing a refinance and was very surprised the appraiser was at his house for less than twenty minutes, and he wondered if it was normal for appraisers to only glance in a bathroom, not measure one side of the house and generally be so quick.

appraisal inspections - Sacramento Appraisal BlogHere’s my two cents. After inspecting thousands of homes, it does become quite easy to quickly assess the amenities in a home – particularly if the appraiser is familiar with the neighborhood or even the particular house model. Some houses can be very quick to measure in light of their rectangular shape, while other homes are very complex and the appraiser might be there for a number of hours measuring the house and collecting details. I’m not sure if this appraiser was thorough or not, but it is bad form to not measure one side of the house when it was completely accessible to the appraiser. Additionally, it’s a bit skimpy to not open the shower door to at least see what is there. After all, it’s telling what you can find sometimes when looking in a shower (or under the kitchen or bathroom sinks). Ultimately, it’s still possible the appraiser caught mostly everything, so there may be nothing to worry about, though it sounds like the appraiser went a bit too fast and missed some things. Hopefully that won’t have a negative impact on the value. Even if the value is accurate though, it’s too bad my non-neurotic friend questioned the appraiser’s end-product because of how fast the appraisal inspection was. There just might be a business lesson here for those who enter homes for a living.

advice for home owners - Sacramento Appraisal BlogAdvice to home owners: Had my friend called me before the inspection I would have given him the following advice. Make a written list of all upgrades you have done since you purchased your home several years ago. Give this list to the appraiser and make yourself available for any questions. Expect that the appraiser may be very quick and may even be less personable than you’d like too. Focus on what you can control, which is welcoming the appraiser into your home, providing written details about your house and giving the appraiser space to do his job. For more advice, read What should you do before the appraiser comes? or  10 things NOT to do when the appraiser comes.

I hope this was helpful.

Question: What do you think the appraiser could have done differently at the inspection to help give the owner confidence that the appraiser was doing a thorough job?

If you liked this post, subscribe by email (or RSS). Thanks for being here.


  1. says

    Even though I may have appraised a home before, or if the home is so simple and basic that I can finish the inspection quickly, I make it a point to leave the inspection with the homeowner knowing that I spent an adequate amount of time looking at their property. If you don’t, and you come in lower than the owner feels is right, they can’t say you didn’t spend enough time.

    • says

      I think that’s a great move, Tom. It also honors the client in that the client will look like they hired someone who is competent. My friend in the situation above has a legitimate reason to be frustrated, and he’ll likely complain to the loan officer too. That’s not good business. A few extra minutes and a few extra questions would have done the trick.

  2. says

    I’m “Old School” when it comes to property inspections. I tell the homeowner that I will be going through EACH level of their home 3-times. Once to takes notes, once to do a detailed floor plan sketch, and a final time to take interior photos. I assure them with that process I will not miss much. I also tell them that IF I see anything I haven’t seen before (unusual)or don’t understand, I WILL ask them about it. Before I leave I always ask: “Do you have any questions for ME?” I actually enjoy the inspection process and TALK with the homeowner. Following this pattern, I find that I spend at LEAST 30 min. at even the most basic of homes. For typical 2-story homes, I tell owners that I’ll be on the INSIDE 45 to 60 minutes.

  3. says

    It was quite concerned that it depends on the property weather it is complicated or simple resident, the appraiser send legal experts to visit that property, if the complicated property inspection may take more than one hour and if simple residential property it may take no more than ten or fifteen minutes.

    • says

      Akron, you’re right that complicated properties take much longer. I was hired to measure a 10,000 square foot home over the past year, and it honestly took me 4-5 hours just to measure the house. It was so complicated. 10-15 minutes is pretty quick though.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *