A typical home appraisal appointment will take between 20 to 45 minutes or more, depending on the complexity of the property. The appraiser will inspect both the interior and exterior of the subject property and the surrounding area. They will take interior and exterior photographs and measure the appropriate parts of the house. The appraisal report will contain as much information on the home and the surrounding area as possible. Included will be a description of the exterior design and construction, a description of the interior quality and finishes, and any additional features (pools, barns, etc.). There is a section of the report which describes the economic factors that impact the value, the neighborhood and lot size, shape, room count of the house (4 bedrooms, 1.5 baths, etc.) and lists the above grade living area of your house and any basement and basement finishes.
Then the process of valuation begins. When applicable, a Cost Approach is provided. The appraiser uses various methods of estimating a cost to reconstruct the home, estimate the depreciation, if any, and add the depreciated value of the improvements to the estimated value of the site. This approach is not always applicable, based on the age of the home. The Income Approach is seldom used with single family properties, since they are seldom purchased for their income producing potential in this area.
The Sales Comparison Approach is the one approach that is almost always used. In this approach, properties that have sold are reviewed. Three or more properties that are most similar are compared to the subject on a feature by feature basis. The appraiser will make adjustments to the comparables where the properties differ and a value estimate will be reached based on an analysis of the adjusted sales prices.
Finally, the indicated values from the most applicable approaches are reconciled into a final value estimate.