I have been told many times by homeowners that I’m taking much longer doing my appraisal inspection of their home than the last appraiser did. Typically I get this “last appraiser was in and out of here in five minutes… he just ran through the house and left”. Often times the homeowner feels that the appraiser is shortchanging them by not noticing some of the items that they have upgraded in the home since they’ve lived there.
The amount of time necessary to do a thorough inspection of the home varies depending upon the size of the home, the amount of amenities, and the condition. Typically, a standard size tract home will take me from forty-five minutes to an hour to do the inspection. Sometimes it’s a bit shorter but that’s generally the range that takes me to complete the inspection. I have taken as long as ten hours to complete the most complex of residential appraisals in the past.
First the appraiser will measure the home and inspect the exterior conditions. I use a Leica Disto laser measurer to measure the exterior of the home. The Disto laser measurement device is far more accurate than measuring with either a measuring tape or a wheel. My measurements are to the nearest 1/8 inch. After measuring the exterior I will make notes on things such as the paint, the roof, if the windows have been upgraded, landscaping upgrades, hardscaping upgrades such as masonry walls, walkways, patio areas etc.
Once the exterior of the home has been measured and inspected I will come inside and inspect the interior. I have a checklist that I bring with me and I make notes on the finishes and condition in each of the rooms. I will note items such as flooring, the condition of the walls, finish items such as crown molding or vaulted open beam ceilings. I will make notes on the quality and condition of the appliances and if they have been upgraded within the past ten years. I will make notes on the countertops in the kitchen and the baths. I will question the homeowner on the age of many of the items if it appears that they have been replaced within the past ten years. I will also question the homeowner on items that are not readily visible such as plumbing upgrading and electrical upgrades. I will also look for stains on the wall or ceiling that could be indicative of problems with the roof or the exterior siding. Then, I will look for the smoke detectors, carbon monoxide detectors, and inspect the water heater to be sure that it’s compliant with the current building codes requiring earthquake strapping.
By being very thorough I make sure that I’m not shortchanging the homeowner on any improvements that they have made. It may take me a bit longer than other appraisers but if I should ever do a second appraisal on your home all of the information gathered from the original inspection will allow me to re-inspect the home much more quickly.