Why do appraisers take so many pictures?

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One of the results of the recession in 2007 is that appraisers are required to include extra documentation of the properties they appraise. One of the ways documentation has increased is the number of photographs required. Appraisers used to only take a front, rear and street photo of the property but, they are now required to a lot more.

What is the Appraiser taking pictures of?

Anything that can increase or decrease the value of the property may be included in the appraisal. This can include items in the house, outside or next to the house. These photos are now required because it gives the underwriters a better idea of the condition of the property.  Let me break this down for you.

  1. Rooms

The appraiser is required to take a photo of each room of your home this includes, bedrooms, bathrooms, kitchen, dining room, living room, family room, etc. I would like to note that any personal photographs found within the appraiser’s picture are covered for privacy.

  1. Exterior

The appraiser will take photos of all sides of the exterior of the home, but he will also be including any items that can add value to your home that are not inside. Some of the items that are usually noted are pools, spas, sports courts, barns, guest houses, ponds, views, etc.

  1. Special Features

Permanent features that have been added to the property that can increase the value will be photographed. This can include items such as a built-in entertainment center or detailed crown molding.

  1. Deferred Maintenance

Any items that may need to be repaired will be included and photographed in the appraisal report. This includes chipping or peeling paint, termite damage, water damage, roof damage, stucco damage, etc.

  1. Attic and Crawlspace

FHA appraisals are required to include a “head and shoulder inspection” of both the attic and crawl space which includes providing photographs of these spaces. These photos can show of any potential problems there may be with the property such as prior fire damage or cracks in the slab.

  1. External Elements

External Elements includes items that are outside of the subject property boundaries. This can include things such as power lines, farms or factories that produce foul odors, etc.

  1. Updates, Renovations, or Remodeling

Any recent upgrades done to the property will be photographed. If you have spent thousands of dollars upgrading, I am sure you will be happy the appraiser is wanting to take photos of it all. That new bathroom or kitchen remodel will help the value of your home and the appraiser is taking photos to prove it.

Conclusion

The appraiser is taking all these photos in order to support the final opinion of value. The number of photos taken at each property can vary depending on the condition of the property either in a positive or negative way. All these items can increase or decrease the value of your home, but this part is not new. The only difference is now the appraiser must take photos to prove that these items exist and to give the underwriter a better visual of what the property looks like and to support that value given.

 

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