What Is Included in a House Appraisal?

What Is Included in a House Appraisal?
••• house image by Dragomir Rafajlovic from Fotolia.com

A house or home appraisal is an opinion of the property value of your home by a professionally licensed real estate property appraiser. Appraisals are often associated with the home buying process, as most lenders require the buyer to obtain an appraisal of value as part of a loan agreement. This protects the lender's investment by making certain the property value is adequate. Homeowners can purchase an appraiser's services at any time to determine property value.

The Basics

Home appraisals usually begin with a basic assessment of the stated dimensions and data on the property. The appraiser will often survey the property to confirm that it is situated as stated in legal plats. He will also check for any additions to the home to know whether you have made upgrades to the property following your purchase. Measurements are also taken and confirmed for basic dimensions of the rooms.

Home Condition

One of the most basic sections of a house appraisal is the overview of the condition of your home. Regardless of its size and the elements of the home, the condition of the physical structure and interior of the property have a significant effect on the real and perceived value. The appraiser will review and detail in his report the condition of the exterior of the home and any major items (e.g., a deck or pool), as well as the interior rooms and property fixtures.

Comparable Homes

Another major consideration used to determine your property's value is the value of comparable homes in the area. The appraiser attempts to find homes in your area that have sold within a certain time frame, often six months. He compares the basic size and structure of your home to the comparable properties. Extras in your home are added to the comparable property assessment and deficiencies are subtracted. The LendingTree website points out that the comparable home component of an appraisal is difficult if property values have fluctuated rapidly in your area and if limited comparable properties are available.

The Neighborhood

Another major element the appraiser reviews and reports on is the neighborhood, or immediate area surrounding the property, according to Start Remodeling.com. This includes an assessment of proximity to schools, retail districts, water ways and other unique community locations. Some factors in the neighborhood can improve property value, others can detract. For instance, a property across the street from a cemetery may get penalized because of the perceive drop in demand relative to the same house in a different location.