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From The Outside, What Do Interior Field Appraisers Look For In A House?

May 27

According to Paul Fonseca, a top-selling real estate agent in Fort Myers, Florida, appraisers have a difficult job. In today's ever-changing real estate market, they are in charge of evaluating the value of a home.

According to the Assessment Institute, residential house appraisers employ a systematic appraisal process to determine a home's market worth. Most appraisers utilize the Uniform Residential Appraisal Express, which was designed by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, to express their findings (URAR).

We'll explain what house appraisers look for when valuing your property with the aid of six industry professionals. Here's a sneak glimpse at what's coming up:

  • Your home's structural soundness is examined by appraisers.
  • The location of your house has a significant impact on its value.
  • When establishing a property's value, appraisers consider both on-site and surrounding property characteristics.
  • Appraisers for the Federal Housing Administration (FHA) employ these criteria.
  • Appraisals for refinances are similar to appraisals for home sales in that they are used to determine the value of a property.
  • Moveable or ornamental pieces are not appraised by appraisers.
  • Although a low appraisal may be appealed, your home's worth is unlikely to increase.

Your home's structural soundness is examined by appraisers

A standard evaluation report evaluates the general property attributes, such as building materials and structural components. The sales comparison technique is used by appraisers to compare the house's features to those of previously sold similar properties.

When comparing two identical properties, an appraiser may give a higher value to a home with a two-car garage than a home with a one-car garage.

During interior field evaluations in Bar Harbor interior field appraisers look for the following characteristics:

The property's characteristics

The following are the measurements: The number of rooms, bedrooms, and bathrooms in the structure's living space above grade, measured in square feet.
Garage and driveway The number of cars a garage can accommodate and the kind of driveway surface it has are determined by whether it is detached or built-in.
There is also a residential unit known as: The ADU's zoning status and how it affects the property's marketability and value
Overall score: The property's general condition, as well as if it fulfills neighborhood requirements.

The inside is embellished with

  • The many kinds of heating and cooling systems, as well as their current state.
  • The floor's materials and condition.
  • The kind of materials employed, as well as the state of the walls.
  • Trim the material and condition it.
  • Appliances include refrigerators, stoves, ovens, and dishwashers, to name a few.
  • Energy-saving features include energy efficiency certification, tankless water heaters, and insulated ducting, to name a few.

The surface's characteristics

  • The material and condition of the outside walls.
  • Roof: The roof's kind, condition, and material.
  • Windows: Consider the kind of window, whether or not it has screens, and how much insulation is in place.
  • There is a pool, an outdoor fireplace, and other outdoor activities.

The foundations and the attic

  • The kind and quality of the foundation are quite important.
  • Basement: The basement, whether finished or unfinished, is the most significant portion of the house.
  • Attic, completed or unfinished.

House appraisers also consider improvements, renovations, and expansions. "It's self-evident that a newer or more updated property would sell for more money than a similar but older home," says Mason Spurgeon, proprietor of Spurgeon Appraisals, a qualified general appraiser.


Kitchens, bathrooms, and other critical components are being improved

A recent redesign, according to Spurgeon, may increase the value of your property. According to the author, "updated kitchens and bathrooms have a significant influence on a home's valuation since these are the areas where a buyer would spend the most money if modifications were necessary."

In older homes, major components (expensive ones like a new roof or air conditioning system) are especially vital.

"A lot of the time, an appraiser will come out and look at an air conditioner to see how old it is, or when they draft permits, they will verify permits," Fonesca explains. When you tell them it was just installed and is a Trane air conditioner that cost $7,000, it's a different story. "And we just paid this much for a new roof last year."


Ground-floor swimming pools and patios may not add much to the value of a house.

An in-ground swimming pool adds some value but depreciates in value owing to the care necessary, according to John Huston, a professional appraiser in St. Petersburg, Fla., who covers three counties and has appraised over 3,800 properties since 1999.

To put it another way, a $120,000 in-ground pool isn't inherently worth more than a $35,000 pool. "If you sell your pool, you won't receive $120,000," Fonseca predicted. "It makes no difference who spends more money; each of you has a perfectly working swimming pool."

Extra features, in Spurgeon's opinion, seldom provide much value. "In our market, porches, decks, and other outside living areas have a lower impact," he adds.


The location of your house has a significant impact on its value

"Location, location, location," says Spurgeon, referring to the single most significant aspect in determining a home's worth. While appraisers aren't obligated by Fannie Mae standards to study or grade a neighborhood, they do consider objective factors such as the home's location and other characteristics that may impact its value and marketability.

The region's density, rate of growth, and whether the location is urban, rural, or suburban are all factors to consider.

Attractiveness of the neighborhood: All jobs, services, and public transportation may be reached by foot.
The current market situation is as follows: The length of time it took to sell a home recently, as well as whether prices and demand are rising or falling.

When establishing a property's value, appraisers consider both on-site and surrounding property characteristics.
Appraisers take into account the property's size, form, and geography, as well as easements and encroachments. The appraiser will take note of things like street utilities and vehicle access. The process of evaluation is analyzing whether or not the home's qualities are marketable.

The zoning classification of a property determines whether it is acceptable for its intended use

Specific dangers include if there are any distinguishing threats (such as environmental hazards) and whether the hazard has an influence on the home's value or marketability.

The following is FEMA's flood zone designation: The home's proximity to a FEMA flood zone is an important factor to consider.

Outside-of-the-office improvements Conditions of employment: Streets, alleyways, sidewalks, lighting, curbs, and gutters are all critical factors to consider. Any other factors on the property that might affect the home's marketability or value.


These are the items that FHA appraisers look for, according to Bethany White, a top Virginia Beach realtor with over 13 years of experience. According to Bethany White, a top Virginia Beach realtor with over 13 years of experience, FHA appraisal criteria are stricter than conventional loan appraisals. Appraisers for FHA loans, like those for conventional loans, provide their judgment on a home's worth. Unlike traditional loan examiners, FHA assessors look for health and safety issues as well.

While a traditional loan assessor would look at a home's general condition, the FHA's requirements are substantially more stringent. The following are some of the FHA appraisal standards that must be met before closing:

  • The appliances on the market must be in perfect functioning order.
  • The attic insulation should be free of leaks and damage. In addition, the attic must be adequately ventilated.
  • It's important to prevent water penetration or standing water in the crawl space.
  • Around the building, grading and drainage are necessary.
  • The electrical system must be suitable for the structure and in excellent functioning condition.
  • The house's foundation must be solid.
  • Heating and cooling systems must function properly.
  • Paint that has chipped or peeled should be fixed as soon as possible, especially if lead paint is present (with homes built prior to 1978).
  • The plumbing has to be in good operating condition.
  • The life expectancy of the roof must be at least two years.
  • In order for a termite infestation to be seen in the residence, it must be camouflaged.
  • If the house does not satisfy all of the FHA's assessment requirements, the homeowner is responsible for resolving any issues before to closing. White went on to say, "The appraiser needs to go out and sign it."


Appraisals for refinances are similar to appraisals for home sales in that they are used to determine the value of a property

Whether refinancing or purchasing, the overall appraisal procedure stays the same from the appraiser's standpoint. When assessing the value of a house, an appraiser considers the same factors in both kinds of assessments. The same URAR form is used by a comprehensive refinancing appraiser as it is by a purchase loan appraiser.

Your lender will seek the evaluation you'll need for your loan if you're refinancing. The lender may or may not need a complete examination. If the appraiser does not visit your house, the bank's underwriting rules may demand a restricted assessment, such as a drive-by or hybrid review. "It really depends on who's doing the refinancing," White says. "In your bank, it may be done differently."

External conditions may determine whether your lender requires a limited review in the near future. According to Jolene Jacobs, a top realtor who deals with 80 percent more single family homes than the typical Royal Oak agent, drive-by appraisals were common during the epidemic. Moreover, owing to a shortage of appraisers in the Michigan region a few years ago, additional drive-by assessments were done to fulfill demand.