In the appraisal industry, we often use the word, inspection when referring to gathering firsthand information relevant to the value of our subject and comparable real estate properties. Fannie Mae Form 1004, the most used residential real estate appraisal report form, specifies in the Scope of Work Section, “The appraiser must, at minimum: (1) perform a complete visual inspection of the interior and exterior areas of the subject property.” The Uniform Standards of Professional Appraisal Practice (USPAP) also use the word inspection. I think it would be clearer to users of appraisals if the appraisal profession used the word, viewing instead of inspection.
The word inspection is typically associated with home inspectors who are specialists trained more extensively than appraisers are at determining a home’s condition. For example, a home inspector might remove the cover of a furnace to check the condition of the parts inside and to test the effectiveness of the furnace. An appraiser is more likely to just view the outside of the furnace, turn on the furnace for some types of appraisals, ask how old the furnace is, and call in an expert to check further or make assumptions if there are uncertainties.
Here is a video from a recent blog post about What Does the Appraiser Do on Inspection that describes a little more detail about the appraiser’s viewing of a property.
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