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The Legal Process of Home Appraisals

What Are Home Appraisals?

Home appraisals are a very important element that ensures your home sale goes quickly and efficiently. Although an appraisal can appear to be a simple process, the importance of home appraisals are often misunderstood and often involve several steps.

Many homeowners have questions as to what to expect during home appraisals and in this article, we discuss the information gathered during an appraisal, preparation for home visits and the legal steps of appraisals.

What Are Home Appraisals?

What is a home appraisal?

Home appraisal is the process of a legally-licensed appraiser conducting an inspection of your property in order to determine the property’s value. This usually happens when the property is being sold. But that’s not all there is to the legal process of a home appraisal. A home appraisal is a process, so be prepared to take several steps to get through it properly - and legally.

Checking all the required boxes and not skipping steps will help make sure you don’t run into any problems later in your sale. 

The inspection will be thorough and detailed. The best appraiser will make sure to inspect any details such as additions made to the property and conditions of high-value areas like bathrooms, attics, and kitchens.

The list price you find for your home may not match the appraisal because of changes made to the property or the rise and fall of your local real estate market, so having an accurate appraisal is extremely important and can make a big difference in how much your home is sold for! 

Information Gathered in a Home Appraisal 

From the start, it will help to gather the information related to changes you’ve made to your home, such as renovations, kitchen upgrades, new air conditioners, or simply redecorating. When dealing with a process as potentially-significant as a home appraisal, be as accurate as possible. More detail upfront means fewer surprises later! 

First, you’ll typically begin the process with a phone call to an appraiser. Be sure to get a clear picture of their experience, and give them a clear idea of what to expect and look for in your property.

While the initial interview is important, don’t let it stress you too much! Anything big you miss can be cleared up later on in the process. Especially in the next step: appraisal home visits. 

Note: During the current public health situation, you may want to discuss with your appraiser on your expectations for masking and physical distancing. 

Appraisal Home Visits 

After the phone interview, the next step is the in-person appraisal. Real estate clichés tell us to think: “location, location, location!” However, for home appraisals, a more accurate phrase may be “Presentation, Presentation, Presentation.” However, looks aren’t everything.

The appraiser is looking at the structure of the house and the condition of the home in general, not judging how well your Lockdown Cleaning went. However, presenting your home as organized and clean can help with making sure nothing is missed and keeping your appraiser safe. It also gives you a chance to start packing! 

During the visit, go back to your notes from the beginning of the process. Are there any specific upgrades that the appraiser should see? Did you remodel the bathroom?

Anything you missed in the interview you want to make sure gets covered? With the appraiser there in person, it’s your chance to make sure every detail is covered.

If the home visit inspires a significant change in value, this may result in a longer process, but it is better to have the process go well than go quickly. The more accurate the appraisal, the more accurate your home value. 

The Final Step of a Home Appraisal 

After the interview and home visit, the appraiser will consider the data from your property as well as the value of similar properties to provide a detailed report on your home’s value. The estimated value may not always match the property’s listing price, so it is important to read the report in detail to understand how your home’s value was determined. 

After the appraisal, there is a 3-month review process to make any changes and assure accuracy for all parties. Mistakes in appraisals are rare, but it is important to make sure you fully understand the appraisal and the legal implications. The review process is your last chance to ask any questions or address any concerns, so don’t be afraid to ask for details! 

After the 3-month review, your appraisal will be confirmed and you have completed the legal process of a home appraisal.

If you're buying or selling real estate, get an experienced attorney who actively manages your residential or commercial real estate transaction which minimizes or eliminates delays and brings you to a quick closing.

Contact our Illinois real estate attorneys for a free consultation to learn how we can save you time and money on your next real estate transaction.

The Legal Process of Home Appraisals
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