The term inspection typically refers to the site visit with respect to the appraisal process. The inspection or site visit can have different steps and/or levels depending upon the scope of work of the engagement.
Typical site visit types include:
- Interior and Exterior inspection
- Exterior only inspection
- No inspection (desktop products/reports)
An Interior and Exterior inspection process for a typical residential property (single family, condominium, townhouse, multi-family, etc.) includes:
- Inspection of site and site features
- Inspection of exterior features of site improvements
- Measurement of site improvements (exterior measurement is industry standard)
- Inspection of interior of site improvements (detailed walk-through, interior components, floor plan, photographs, etc.)
An Exterior only inspection process can include all of the above mentioned components excluding any interior inspection of improvements. Many exterior only inspections are done from the street. This is typical when permission to access the property is not requested or provided.
No inspection is just that, no site visit. Knowledge and research from sources such as the county property appraiser website, local multiple listing service (MLS), proprietary products (fee or membership database products), aerial maps, satellite imagery, internet sources, etc. are utilized in this and all inspection formats.
The level of detail or observation in any appraisal inspection or site visit is constrained to what is readily observable. This is defined as ‘observations made by the appraiser of conditions that are immediately discernible and noticeable during the typical site visit. The appraiser is not required to move furniture, equipment, or cause damage to the property.’ (HUD definition)
Preparation for the site visit
A point worth mention, an appraiser must be state licensed to perform appraisals in the State of Florida. You can verify any state license or certification through the Department of Business and Professional Regulation (DBPR) website: http://www.myfloridalicense.com/dbpr/. You will need the name and/or license information to verify.
To facilitate the site visit, it’s beneficial but not a requirement to have this information ready for the appraiser:
- A plot plan or survey of the house and land (if readily available)
- Home inspection reports, or other recent reports for termites, septic systems and wells
- List of major home improvements and upgrades, the date of their installation and their cost (for example, the addition of central air conditioning or roof repairs) and permit confirmation (if available)
- Information on “Homeowners Associations” or condominium covenants and fees.
- Accessibility: Make sure that all areas of the home are accessible, including the attic and crawl space
- Housekeeping: This is not an element of comparison within the appraisal report. That being said, the impression of maintenance and upkeep can have a qualitative affect.
- Maintenance: Repair minor things if possible.
- You should be available to answer questions about your property and be willing to point out any home improvements.
Other beneficial documents/information includes:
- Information on the latest purchase of the property in the last three years
- Written property agreements, such as a maintenance agreement for a shared driveway
- List of any personal property to be sold with the home
- Title policy that describes encroachments or easements
- Most recent real estate tax bill and or legal description of the property
- A copy of the current listing agreement and broker’s data sheet and Purchase Agreement if a sale is “pending”.
- A list of “Proposed” improvements if the property is to be appraised “As Complete”.