The 3 Real Estate Appraisal Myths.
As appraisers, we talk to a lot of different people in the real estate world every day. In our experience, we’ve come to notice there are a lot of common misconceptions and myths about the appraisal process. In this video, we debunk some of the most frequent misunderstandings we come across when it comes to appraising homes.
1. Real estate agents can’t talk very much about the appraisal with the appraiser.
This is just untrue. In fact, we love it when agents help us out. It’s truly awesome when we get suggestions on potential comparables, lists of recent updates or renovations to the home, or just generally any sort of information that will help us with the appraisal process.
What isn’t allowed: We’ve appraised a few properties where after shaking hands with the agent, they drop that classic line: “Is this the part where I give you the $200?”
We’ll gladly take your money, but don’t expect it to change anything. Trying to convince, suggest, coerce, or attempt to sway the appraiser towards a certain value and get or to overlook a certain part of the property in any way is strictly prohibited.
2. Appraisers and home inspectors look for the same things.
This is also false. A real estate appraisal and a home inspection are two very different things. When we go to appraiser a property, we don’t even say we’re going on an inspection- in our office, we call them site visits.
Among a few other things, most people misunderstand what exactly an appraiser looks for in the utilities. During a real estate appraisal, the appraiser’s concern is whether or not the utilities are functional.
A home inspector’s scope of work extends way, way beyond this. Inspections typically take much longer than an appraisal- the appraiser is concerned with functionality, while the inspector’s biggest concern is whether or not the utilities are up to code, among a few other things.
An appraiser will flip the light switch to see if the lights turn on. If they flicker for a moment, they might take note of that, they might not. An inspectors job would be to flip the switch, and then get to the bottom of why exactly the lights are flickering, and determine what could (or should in some cases) be done to fix it.
3. The cleanliness of a home during the appraisal has a large affect on it’s value.
This is… mostly false. If the sink is full of dishes or there’s dirty laundry on the floor, an appraisers job is to look past those things and truly examine the condition of the property, ignoring the fact that a 12 year old girl refuses to clean her room.
Now while appraisers don’t take this into account, always a good idea to clean your home as much as possible before any real estate appraisal. Just the same as if you were having your in-laws come over, it’s good to have a clean house when company is on the way. While they don’t take it into account, a dirty home with things like an overgrown lawn or garbage in the yard will still have an impact on the appraiser, just as it would on anyone.
While you won’t see an adjustment in the appraisal report like” -$500 value for unmowed lawn and house needing vacuuming,” a home in need of housekeeping can still distract the appraiser- no real estate professional wants to clear childrens toys and laundry just to confirm there are hardwood floors.
…but really, in accordance with real appraisal rules and regulations, cleanliness shouldn’t affect the value of your home.
Jonathan Montgomery Founder and President of the The Real Estate Appraisal Group.He has been a real estate professional since 1998. He’s been a broker, and investor and now serves as an appraiser. He currently works as an appraiser, doing real estate appraisals in Washington D.C., Southern Maryland, and Northern Virginia.