An appraisal is a survey of a home performed by a licensed, independent professional to determine the home's market value. The appraiser documents the property's interior and exterior condition, from the layout, amenities and features, modernization updates, and the overall construction quality.
Appraisals typically happen for one of two reasons: a lender orders one prior to approving a loan for a home buyer, or the property's current owner orders one to assess its value before putting it on the market. The Equal Credit Opportunity Act mandates that your lender provide you with a copy of the appraisal report upon your written request.
The appraiser estimates the GLA (gross living area) in square footage by measuring the exterior of the home. Finished basements and non-living areas such as garages aren't included in the GLA estimate, but are documented and considered in value separately. This information will guide the appraiser throughout the comparison and valuation process.
In most cases, the appraiser only considers permanent structures and real property. As most small sheds and above-ground swimming pools are not permanent fixtures, they are usually excluded in the valuation. However, the specific installation process and local custom, may allow an above ground pool or small shed to be considered as part of the real property.