How Do Appraisers Determine Property Value?

You may have a number in mind when you think about the property value of your home, but a local appraiser may have an entirely different idea of what your home is worth. A home appraiser has the power to make a big difference in the value of your home, so learning how they do it is crucial:


  • Appraisers are all different. Some appraisers may come into your home and do an assessment, while others might only measure the outside of the property. If you were to invite ten appraisers over at the same time, they would probably all come up with different values.
  • Appraisers give an approximate value. The reason you won’t get the same number from different professionals is because they give you an approximate property value. The number depends on why you’re having your home appraised, as well as how the appraiser views the individual factors that determine your home’s value. In general, numbers from different professionals should be within the same range.
  • Appraisers use a variety of sources. The actual visit to the property is just one part of an appraisal – it’s not just about those ten short minutes spent looking around the home. Appraisers also take a look at historic property values in the area, prices of comparable homes and the current values of homes in your neighborhood. They may talk to a real estate agent, research court records and look at the MLS – all in one day!
  • Appraisals don’t last forever. You should expect yours to be valid for about six months. Any longer, and your lender is going to want to see a more current estimate.
  • Appraisals can affect your mortgage. Your property value does make a difference for your mortgage. If you owe significantly more than your home is worth, you may be “underwater”  – which can make it harder to get future loans.


Your property value affects many facets of home ownership, from your mortgage payment to how quickly you’ll sell the house when you’re ready to move on. Getting a solid figure from a local real estate appraiser is an excellent way to ensure that your property value is accurate.