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Preparing for an Appraisal Inspection

Each appraiser performs the inspection for an appraisal a little differently.

Some perform the interior inspection first, and some do the exterior first. Most take front and street scene photos when they arrive at the property, then proceed to approach the home to introduce themselves. They will then typically tell you what they are going to do. Most appraisers have multiple inspections scheduled for the day, so they will be very efficient in measuring and inspecting the home. Many appraisers have laser measuring devices, and you may not even realize they are measuring your home.

Key Takeaways:

  • Usually an inspection of the home will not take the appraiser very long unless it is a complex property or has unusual angles.  

  • You will find most appraisers are friendly, but usually not particularly chatty. They aren’t trying to be unfriendly or rude, they are just focusing on the task at hand. It is good practice to let the appraiser go about their work and save your questions until the end.

  • If you have completed recent upgrades to the home, then have the details of those upgrades written neatly down on a piece of paper, along with the cost (and receipts for big items).

  • If you know of the details of recent home sales in your neighborhood, or on the street, then feel free to write that information down and provide it to the appraiser as well.

  • If you have any recent additions, garage conversions, or other remodeling where permits would be required, please have the permit information available for the appraiser.

    • Note: if you purchased a property with an addition or conversion, you may want to verify permits and acquire this information prior to the appraisal. The fact this area was in place prior to you purchasing the property does not mean that it is legal and permitted.

  • Please do not ask the appraiser what they think your property is worth, or whether they think it will hit a particular value. The appraiser does not know the answer to either of these questions at this point in the process.

  • Finally, don’t be offended if the appraiser does not take your notes or additional comparable data. The appraiser will make notes as to what items they believe are pertinent to their analysis, and they will most likely already have any comparable sales data you might be providing. Most will take the information you are providing.



Interior of the Subject Property

Prepare the interior of your home as if you were having a guest over or showing the property for sale.

Everything should be clean and tidy. Open the drapes/blinds and turn all the lights on to show the property in the best possible light.


  1. Please make sure any dogs are properly kenneled or secured. Not every appraiser is a dog person.

  2. Have working smoke detectors properly installed. Most municipalities require one to be installed in each sleeping area, one located in the hallway outside of each sleeping area, and one on each floor of a multi-floor structure (including livable attic and basement areas). Check with your local building department for local requirements.

  3. Carbon Monoxide (CO) Detectors should be properly installed as well. Many states require CO detectors to be installed in residential properties. California state law requires one to be installed outside of each sleeping area, and one on each floor for multi-level properties that have fossil fuel-burning appliances, or an attached garage. Note if the subject is a large home where there is a group of bedrooms on one side of the home and say a master bedroom on the other side of the home, then that floor would need two CO detectors (one outside of each sleeping area). Please make sure these units are properly installed and in working order.  Check with your local building department for local requirements.

  4. Properties located in areas with seismic activity (seismic zones three or higher) may also require water heater bracing. In these areas, water heater(s) should be double-strapped (braced). Please refer to state building codes regarding proper water heater bracing.

  5. All areas of the subject property should be accessible to the appraiser. This means every room of the house, closets, the garage, guest units, storage areas, crawl space or basement, and the attic. This also includes any outbuildings, barns, detached garages, or storage buildings.

  6. All utilities should be on (Gas, Water, Electric) for the inspection. All appliances (Stove, Oven/Range, Dishwasher, and any other built-in appliances) should be in good working order.

  7. If you have a non-permitted guest unit or addition with a second kitchen, you should consider removing the oven/range and fan hood from the property. Cap any gas line if the oven/range is gas. This will minimize some of the underwriting/investor issues that may arise because of the non-permitted unit/addition.

  8. Walk through the property and look for any electrical issues that may need correction (i.e., exposed wiring broken fixtures, etc.) and make any pertinent repairs.

  9. Fix any plumbing issues (leaks, low water pressure, clogged toilets).

  10. Fix any broken tile on counters or floors.

  11. Fix any broken windows.

  12. Ensure all windows open and function properly.

  13. If there are security bars on the windows of any room used for sleeping, there needs to either be alternative direct ingress/egress to the exterior of the home (an alternate door or unbarred window), or safety release latches for the security bars.

  14. If there are any stains on the ceiling they should be repaired, as well as whatever caused the stain.

  15. Any signs of mold or pest infestation should be treated and repaired.

  16. If the home was built prior to 1978, any cracked or peeling paint should be scraped and painted. Any scrapings should be removed from the home.


Exterior of the Subject Property


  1. The yard should be groomed as well as possible, with any garbage or debris removed from the site.

  2. The appraiser will need access around the entire perimeter of all structures. Please make sure the appraiser has a clear path and can clearly see all exterior areas. Cut back any overgrown vegetation and remove any debris or garbage.

  3. There should be no tree limbs/branches touching any part of the structure.

  4. If you have gates on fences, make sure they are in good shape and function properly. 

  5. If the home was built prior to 1978, any cracked or peeling paint should be scraped and painted. Any scrapings should be removed from the site.

  6. Any signs of mold, wood rot, or pest infestation should be treated and repaired. If you have cleared inspections of any of these items, then please provide a copy to the appraiser.

  7. If there are any serious cracks in the foundation of the structure, you may want to have these inspected by a qualified professional prior to the appraisal inspection. Provide the appraiser with any documents showing the items have been cleared, or an estimated cost to correct the problems if they have not been cleared.

  8. The appraiser will inspect the roof from the ground and will note any issues in the appraisal. So, you may want to look to see if the appraiser might see anything of issue.


Please note the aforementioned items are not all-inclusive. There are many things the appraiser looks for when inspecting a home for an appraisal. There are no guarantees the appraiser will catch any of the items noted above. It is also possible the appraiser may notice something not listed above. This list is simply a general list of items that are frequently conditioned for in an appraisal, or that may help show the property in the best possible light.

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