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.
Here’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 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?