The appraisal process is an integral element of modern property ownership today. At its core, the appraisal process acts as a means of communicating the inherent value of a property to all relevant agencies. An appraisal can only be legally recognized if it is completed by an authorized appraiser. If the property being appraised is a residential property, the appraiser will most likely utilize the Uniform Residential Appraisal Report, often referred to as the URAR.
Although the appraisal process does incorporate a variety of tasks and responsibilities, the Uniform Residential Appraisal Report provides a streamlined approach that expedites the process and ensures the highest degree of accuracy.
The Uniform Residential Appraisal Report, also known as the URAR, is the de facto industry standard home appraisal form. An appraiser will use this document to highlight and record a variety of pertinent details related to property in question, ranging from its age and current condition to the sale prices of similar properties in the neighborhood.
Basics of Home Appraisals
By far the most common application of the appraisal process is when a lender is seeking to determine the current value of a property they have been asked to provide financing for. The results of the appraisal can help a lender determine whether or not the property in question poses any financial risks to them. For example, if the current appraisal shows that the property is now valued less than the original purchase price, the lender will most likely refuse to offer financing.
Appraisals also factor prominently into the mortgage refinancing process. Before a lender is willing to negotiate new refinancing terms, they will need to know what the actual value of the property has become.
Exploring the Uniform Residential Appraisal Form
The URAR is one of several house appraisal forms that can be used to complete a home appraisal. By and large, however, this particular document is considered to be the most popular and often utilized method of documenting home value. The URAR form can only be used to appraise one-unit properties with or without additional accessory units. If a property is a manufactured home or a condominium, URAR cannot be used.
In order to complete the form, a specific set of information must be incorporated into the documentation. For starters, this includes basic information about the property owner, such as their name and current address. In addition to this, a variety of technical data related to the location of the property must be added, such as zoning regulations, current access to public utilities and any flood-zone data provided by FEMA.
URAR and Home Data
As could be expected, the bulk of the appraisal form will be used to discuss the fine details of the property itself. On a basic level, this includes the age of the property, its physical dimensions, construction materials and relative condition. Once the appraiser has entered the property, a far more thorough examination begins.
The appraiser should undertake a complete detailed inspection of the full interior of the property, noting any damages, improvements or modifications that may have occurred since the previous appraisal. The appraiser can also complete an exterior sketch of the property that shows approximate dimensions.
As part of the report and the appraisal process as a whole, the appraiser must include information related to sales of similar properties in the neighborhood and their sale price.
Moving Forward From the URAR
Once the appraiser completes the URAR, this document will be used as a reference to derive the current appraised value of the home. It is important to note that the appraised value differs from the assessed value, which is used to determine an individual's property tax obligations. Confusing these two data points could create a variety of logistical frustrations for homeowners.
- Fannie Mae: Uniform Residential Appraisal Report
- AI Home
- American Society of Appraisers. "Appraisals FAQ Everything You Want to Know About Appraisals and Appraisers." Accessed April 1, 2020.
- National Association of REALTORS. "Appraisal & Valuation." Accessed April 1, 2020.
- Federal Register. "Real Estate Appraisals." Accessed April 2, 2020.
- Appraisal Institute. "The Appraisal Profession." Accessed April 1, 2020.
- Appraisal Institute. "Don’t Like Your Home’s Appraisal? Here’s What You Can Do." Accessed April 1, 2020.
Ryan Cockerham is a nationally recognized author specializing in all things innovation, business and creativity. His work has served the business, nonprofit and political community. Ryan's work has been featured at Zacks Investment Research, SFGate Home Guides, Bloomberg, HuffPost and more.