A typical home inspection appointment will take 20 to 30 minutes or more for larger and complex properties. The appraiser will inspect both the interior and exterior of the subject property as well as the surrounding neighborhood. Interior and exterior photographs will be taken and in most cases, the improvements will be measured. The appraisal report will contain as much information on the home as possible. Included will be a description of the exterior (ranch, brick, etc.), a description of the interior (ceramic tile, drywall, etc.), the quality and condition of the improvements, and any additional features (pools, barns, etc.) There is also a section of the report which describes the neighborhood and the lot size/shape, room count of the house (4 bedrooms, 1.5 baths, etc.) and lists the above grade living area of your house, as well as the basement or below grade finishes.
Then the valuation process begins. When applicable, a Cost Approach is provided. The appraiser uses various methods of estimating a cost to reconstruct the home, deduct any depreciation present and then add in the market value of the land. This approach is not always applicable, depending on the age of the home. In the Income Approach, properties that are leased are considered and the Income Approach is utilized. This approach is not usually used with single family properties, since they are seldom purchased solely for their income producing potential.
The Sales Comparison Approach is the approach that is almost always used. In this approach, properties that have sold are analyzed. Three or more properties that are the most similar are compared to the subject on a feature by feature basis. The appraiser will make adjustments to the comparable sales where the properties differ and a value estimate will be made based on an analysis of the indicated adjusted sales prices.
Finally, the most applicable approaches are reconciled and a final value estimated.