A Quick Glance at the Appraisal Process

Are you a first-time home buyer? Does the appraisal process confuse you? Appraisals can be confusing which is why I would like to take a minute of your time to explain the appraisal process.

What you should know about appraisal

1) The bank owns the appraisal- during the home buying process an appraisal will be ordered by the bank, this appraisal is owned by the bank. Unfortunately, it does not matter who is paying for the appraisal the bank ordered it therefore they are they owner which means the appraiser can not discuss the appraisal with the buyers unless given permission from the lender.

This can make things difficult if the buyer has questions regarding the results of the appraisal, they must contact the appraiser through the lender. I realize this seems unfair, but it is how the process works. However, the bank is required to give the buyer a copy of the appraisal so be sure that you get that.

Also, a mortgage purpose appraisal is different from a personal appraisal in that for personal appraisals you are the owner of the appraisal and can directly communicate with the appraiser. This would be for appraisals for the purpose of Pre-listing, divorce, tax appeal, estate planning, etc.

2) The purpose of the appraisal- The purpose of the appraisal is not to verify the sales price but to determine the market value of the home.  Although the purchase price is included in the report it is not used to determine the value of the home. The appraiser is an unbiased opinion and therefore can best determine the market value of the property.

3) Appraisal vs. Inspection- There are many differences between a home appraisal and home inspection and yet they are very often confused with one another.

A home inspection involves a detailed inspection of the systems in a home such as electrical, plumbing, mechanical, structural, heating and cooling, etc. The home inspection is a much more thorough look into current and potential problems the property may have.

A home appraisal focuses primarily on the market value of the home.  The appraiser does inspect the home for any obvious problems such as visible termite damage, water damage, chipping or peeling paint, holes in the roof, etc. For the purpose of FHA appraisals, the appraiser is required to check a few extra details such as looking in the attic, but this is still not as thorough as the home inspection.

4) Determining market value- The appraiser does not just guess what the value is based on a quick glance of the market. They provide a detailed report of the real estate market in the subject’s neighborhood based on the physical characteristics of the subject.  They then compare these characteristics to at least 3 other similar properties (also referred to as comparables) in the subject’s neighborhood the value will increase or decrease based on its similarities to other similar properties.

5) Low Appraisal- Just because an appraisal comes in low does not mean the appraiser was wrong or that the deal is not salvageable. The appraiser is an unbiased third party that is a professional hired specifically to determine the true market value. So if the appraisal comes in low it probably means it was selling for too much. In this case the appraisal can then be used as a negotiating tool for the buyer to then lower the purchase price.

There are many details of appraisals that can be confusing such as the lingo, what the report looks like, etc, and we discuss many of these in our blog in detail, but I wanted to give you a quick glance at some of the important things to get you started. I hope this helped and please view our other blogs for more information or call our office with any questions you may have.


Please contact our office with any questions you may have or to schedule your appraisal appointment at 760-741-7699, brandlinappraisal@yahoo.com or use our contact page on our website.

Brandlin Appraisals Inc. specialize in helping people who need appraisals for estate purposes, divorce, date of death, bankruptcy, FSBO’s and more throughout San Diego county. For more information please contact us at (760)741-7699, or visit our website at Brandlinappraisals.com, or email us at admin@brandlinappraisals.com

Mike Brandlin
San Diego, CA // Real Estate Appraiser
(760) 741-7699

San Diego Real Estate Appraisal Services For:
Divorce Appraisals / Marriage Dissolution
Bankruptcy Appraisals
Bail Bonds Appraisals
Estate / Date of Death / Retrospective Appraisals
Financial Planning & Trusts
PMI Removal Appraisals
Pre-Foreclosure & Short Sales
Tax Assessment Appeals
Pre-Listing, Pre-Purchase, FSBO’s
Probate Appraisals


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