What to Expect From a Home Appraisal

Before setting up an appraisal with a client, I am almost always asked how the appraisal process goes and what one should expect from a home appraisal.

The answer is almost always the same, which is why I decided to write this guide.

One thing to note ahead of time is that the majority of the work is done behind the scenes. All the client ever actually sees is the inspection (If you are the client), and the final report.

All the rest of these following steps go into the appraisal.

1. Order

The appraisal process always starts with an order. Whether the order comes from the bank that the homeowner is getting a loan through, an appraisal management company (AMC), or directly through us, the order is always the first step.

Typically, if the order comes from a bank or an AMC, they provide us with all the information we need to get in touch with you and to learn what property we will be appraising.

This information typically includes the property address, a phone number, and an email address.

Once we have all this information and we have confirmation to move ahead with the appraisal, the process goes on to step two, which is scheduling the appraisal.

2. Scheduling

Talking on the Phone

The next step in the process is scheduling. To write an appraisal report, the appraiser almost always will have to inspect the property first (See more about inspections in the following step).

On a good day, we can make a single call and have our inspection set up within minutes. On a bad day, it can take days or even a week or more to get in touch with the contact.

Many factors can skew the scheduling process, such as when the client needs the report by when the contact is available or even just simply being unable to reach the contact by phone or email.

More often than not, the biggest problem is being unable to connect with the contact, be it wrong numbers, old emails, or just simply not picking up the phone.

So if you are expecting an appraisal, make it easy on us and just pick up the phone and choose a time that works for both of us!

Once the appointment has been scheduled, it’s time for step three, the inspection.

3. Inspection

Taking Photos

The physical inspection is required in most cases because the appraiser needs to get a good feel for the property so that he can produce an accurate appraisal report.

Although an inspection is technically not required to perform an appraisal, 99% of the time is necessary.

The appraisal inspection will be done at the time of the appointment you scheduled ahead of time (Step 2). Our appraisers will always arrive on time and, most of the time, early. If, for any reason, we are going to be late, we will let the contact know ahead of time.

The inspection consists of two main elements: photos and measuring.

During the inspection, the appraisal will measure around the exterior of the property to get the correct dimensions for the sketch that will be used in the appraisal report.

The appraiser will also need to take photos of the entire property.

As far as the exterior photos go: Photos of the front and rear, the sides, the backyard, the pool/spa, and other important exterior elements will be taken.

As far as interior photos go: Photos of every major room will be taken. These photos include the kitchen, living room, family room, bathrooms, bedrooms, and other distinct rooms. No closet photos will be necessary.

In my opinion, it is important for homeowners to at least do a little bit of cleaning before the appraiser comes to inspect the property because it leaves the appraiser feeling like you maintain the property better than someone who looks like a slob with stuff all over the house.

While this sounds like a lot of work, the entire inspection will only take around 15 to 30 minutes, depending on the size and complexity of the property.

4. Report Writing

Once the appraiser has inspected the property, it is time for them to write the appraisal report.

A common misconception is that the appraisal inspection is what takes the most amount of time when really it is the writing of the report that takes up the majority of the time.

Appraisal Report Writing Photo

Writing the report consists of inputting all of the data about the property, inserting the photos taken during the inspection, producing a sketch with the dimensions and rooms of the property (Almost like a blueprint), researching comparable properties, making adjustments, etc.

There is a lot of work that goes into the writing of the report, which is why the bulk of our time is spent doing it.

5. Delivery

Once the report has been written and proofread, it is then submitted to the client. Depending on who the client is, minor corrections will typically need to be made. Once we make these changes, then the report is considered to be complete.


From start to finish, the appraisal process can take anywhere from a few days to a couple of weeks or more. It starts with the order, then scheduling, and the inspection. Once the inspection is complete, the report is written at the office, and delivered once complete.

If you’re planning for a home appraisal, here is a helpful checklist you can use to prepare.

Austin Fernald

Austin Fernald is a California certified residential appraiser and the founder of Realvals. He writes about the Bay Area real estate market, as well as the real estate appraisal industry as a whole.

Leave a Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.