Between Inspection and Appraisal

by Stan Choate, Appraisal Tech / Valuation Associate

Our appraisers face a recurring situation: One of them arrives at a property to do the inspection and meets the owner, buyer, or some other interested party. The person shows the appraiser around the property, describing many things about it in great detail, complete with family history and plans for the future. As the appraiser is preparing to leave, the person asks, “So what’s it worth?”

This oft-repeated scenario represents one of the most enduring misunderstandings about appraisal work: that we can appraise the value of a property upon inspection. Many of our clients believe that the inspection is the appraisal. This can lead to frustration on the part of the client, who expects to have an appraised value on the day of inspection, and does not see the reason for waiting to get the final report.

When done correctly, an appraisal requires more than inspecting the property and giving a "ball park figure" of what the property might be worth. Following the inspection, there are usually three more tasks to perform before an opinion of value can be confidently given.

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First: We almost always need to visit the county courthouse. This allows us to do research into previous owners, dates of sale, past sale prices, assessed values, and taxes. While these details may seem like minutia, they do help us to estimate a value for the property. While the appraiser sometimes visits the courthouse before the inspection, we often wait until afterward, when we have a better understanding of the property.

Second: To determine the value of the subject, we must compare it to other, similar properties which have sold recently. Having done the inspection, we can then begin our research for truly comparable sales, and finding them is not always easy. Spurgeon Appraisals keeps a growing database of sales, but sometimes we must do additional research to find properties truly like the subject.

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Third: Finally, the appraiser begins work on the final report itself. And the appraisal report is no longer just a stack of paper where we record our data and results. These reports are written with appraisal software which assists our efforts to “crunch the numbers” from your property and the comparable sales. We can truly say that we have no firm opinion of value until we are finished with the report.

Spurgeon Appraisals is dedicated to providing customers with quality appraisals, worth the price you pay for them. It may take a few days, or even a week in some cases, to go from inspection to appraised value, but once we get there, you will have an opinion of value based on thorough research, reliable data, and genuine expertise.


Spurgeon Appraisals regularly appraises a variety of property types. We have experience appraising farms, residences, and commercial properties. We pride ourselves on providing excellent customer service and quality appraisals. Contact our team to see how we can meet your appraisal needs and exceed your service expectations.

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