This page is for your reference. If you have any additional questions, please call Michael Fox Appraisal.

What is an appraisal?

A real estate appraisal is the act of developing an unbiased opinion of value for a property, as of a specific date. An appraisal is based on research of market conditions, the gathering and sound analysis of data, and the appraiser’s knowledge, experience, and professional judgment. Though it can be communicated verbally, an appraisal is typically a written report.

What occurs in the appraisal process?

The appraiser gathers data for the purpose of analyzing value. The appraisal is not a home inspection!

The appraisal typically starts with a walk-through of the property. During the walk-through the appraiser does the following:

  • measures the exterior of the property
  • notes the condition of the property, inside and out, and any factors that might affect value, including the number of rooms, lay-out, quality of equipment and finishes, amenities, etc.

After the walk-through the appraiser may use several techniques to determine the value of the property. The techniques used by the appraiser are determined by the reason for the appraisal (the questions that you want answered). They are the cost approach, the sales comparison approach, and the income approach.

The most common approach is the sales comparison approach in which the appraiser does the following:

  • researches recent sales and competing listings to find properties that are “comparable” to the subject property being appraised
  • compares the recent sales with the property being appraised and makes adjustments in value using all the elements of comparison, including, location, site size and utility, view, “curb appeal”, quality of construction, condition, size, number of bedrooms and baths, etc.

Appraisers use their knowledge of market conditions and the area, along with their experience, ability to analyze data, and expert professional judgment during this process.

Who needs an appraisal?

Anyone involved in a significant real estate transaction needs an unbiased opinion of value. The following are some of the circumstances in which an appraisal is needed:
  • Market transactions—buying and selling property, refinancing, removing PMI
  • Tax questions—grieving property taxes
  • Dispute resolution—grieving property taxes, estate settlement, divorce settlement, etc.
  • Investment planning and counseling—estate planning
This is not an exhaustive list of what appraisers do. Please call Michael Fox Appraisal with any questions that you have.

What is the role of the appraiser?

As the objective third party, appraisers assist buyers, sellers, lawyers, architects, and accountants, etc. by providing an unbiased opinion of value.

How can I prepare for an appraisal?

Appraisers examine the physical condition of the property at the time of the walk-through. They are examining the physical characteristics of the property, not judging your housekeeping. That being said, the appraiser does take photos of many of the rooms. While you do not need to walk through the house with the appraiser, you do need to be available to answer any questions.

Make a copy of the following available to the appraiser (if you have them):

  • A survey
  • Any certificates of occupancy
  • A list of major improvements to the property and the dates they were done
  • Any documents that focus on agreements that the property has with the surrounding properties, i.e., agreements for a shared driveway or any other type of easement
If your property is a 2-4 family, all units must be open for the appraiser to examine.