Frequently Asked Questions

Appraisal Inspections

What should I do to prepare for a home appraisal?

The number one thing you should do to prepare for a home appraisal is to clean your house. The appraiser will inspect every room in your house, so the best impression you can give them is to clean.

Other things you can do include:

  • Clean up the yard
  • Repair any visible water damage or other damage,
  • Prepare specific property information,
  • Make a list of recent improvements,
  • Write down any information you want the appraiser to know
  • Make sure access is available around the entire perimeter of the house
  • Contain your pets (If they are known to be aggressive)

For a full printable checklist, see this post.

How much time does an appraiser spend at the property?

The appraisal inspection can take anywhere from twenty minutes to an hour or more, depending on the size of the property and the complexity.

If it is a 500 square-foot rectangular house on a small lot, then the appraiser will be done quickly. If it is a 10,000 square-foot house on 10 acres with multiple outbuildings, then the appraiser will most likely be more than an hour.

Typically, the longest part of the appraisal inspection is measuring the property. The interior inspection is usually shorter because it only involves taking photos and noting property characteristics.

What does a home appraiser look for?

On the exterior, the appraiser will look at the condition/quality of the walls, roof, gutters, windows, foundation, and anything else visible to the eye. They will inspect guest houses, outbuildings, garages, and anything other permanent structures on the property.

On the interior, the appraiser will look at the condition/quality of the walls, trim, moldings, kitchen cabinets/appliances, bathroom cabinets, fixtures, flooring, internal systems, and anything else they can see.

They will need to look in all the rooms in the main house and any other buildings you have on the property.

Can a home appraisal be done in bad weather?

It really depends on how bad the weather is… If it is raining or snowing, then most likely, yes.

If there is a hurricane, tornado, or another dangerous weather system, then the appraiser will most likely reschedule.

General Appraisal

What to expect from a home appraisal?

A home appraisal is a relatively easy process whether you are refinancing your home, selling a house, or just want to know the value of your property.

In all residential home appraisals, the process is pretty much the same, and it goes like this:

1. The appraiser gets the order which contains all of the information needed to make contact (Phone, email, etc.)

2. The appraiser schedules an appointment to do their inspection

3. The inspection is performed (Typically takes around 20-45 minutes, depending on the complexity and size of the property)

4. The appraiser then goes back to their office and writes the appraisal report (Can take anywhere from 1 day to 1 week)

5. The appraisal report is then delivered to the client, and changes are made if needed

All of these steps are addressed in detail here if you want to learn more.

What is the difference between a full appraisal and an exterior-only appraisal?

Full Appraisal

For a full appraisal, the appraiser will do a full interior and exterior inspection, property measurements, and interior/exterior photos.

The full appraisal is much more thorough and accurate because the appraiser will collect a significant amount more primary data.


The inspection for an exterior-only appraisal usually just involves the appraiser driving by and taking photos from the street.

Aside from the drive-by inspection, the appraiser will rely solely on information that you provide them and information that is available online.

What happens if my house is appraised for more than the asking price?

If your house is appraised for more than the asking or purchase price, then you’re in luck because nothing happens! In fact, you should pat yourself on the back for being such a good negotiator.

Neither you, the buyer, nor the seller will get any kind of reimbursement or the difference if the home is appraised for more than the purchase price.

Now, if your home appraises for lower than the asking price, you have a different situation on your hands.

As a side note, don’t go back to the seller to show them the appraisal, either. You might cause a situation where they think they got ripped off and will do something nasty, like not go through with the sale.

How long is a home appraisal report valid?

The appraisal is valid as of the “effective date” in the appraisal report. Depending on what you need the appraisal for will determine how long this valid appraisal is good for.

How do I choose a qualified home appraiser?

The best place to find a qualified appraiser is by searching on Google or asking for a referral from someone you trust.

A qualified appraiser should have good reviews on Google and other business directory sites like Yelp.

If you found an appraiser you are considering, you can find your state’s appraisal organization on Google and search for the appraiser on their website. This should give you their current license status and the education they have submitted over the years.

One other place to look is on the Appraisal Institute appraiser search. An appraiser that has obtained a designation from the Appraisal Institute is the best you will find.