Appraisal Blog


Learn about home appraisals, appraisal waivers, property inspection waivers, how to prepare and home appraisal tips, what an appraiser looks at, how long appraisals take and more. Appraisal blog written by AZ property appraiser, Steve Leavitt.

10 Home Appraisal Myths You Should Ignore

January 15, 2024

rhome appraisal myths

Several myths surround the home appraisal process, and it can be understandable. But we’re here to set the record straight.

phoenix appraiser blog

Do Appraisers Know The Selling Price?

October 19, 2023

do appraisers know the selling price.

The appraiser will most likely know the selling price of a home. Why? Because the standard appraisal forms require it. Read more...

maricopa county appraiser blog

Do Smart Home Features Increase Your Home Value?

September 26, 2023

smart home value

Does adding smart-home technology, features such as security cameras, network-connected thermostats and lighting, help increase your home value?

gilbert appraiser blog

Does A Pool Add Value To A Home?

Aug 21, 2023

pool value in home appraisals

Does adding a pool to your home increase the home’s value? Dive into the difference between the cost of building a pool and the value added to a home appraisal.

appraisal blog

Role of Technology In Home Appraisals

July 27, 2023

tech in home appraisals

Technology improves efficiency & accuracy of home valuations. How? With technology, appraisers can access robust data, streamline processes & use advanced analytical tools.

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Does A Messy Home Affect An Appraisal?

June 26, 2023

comparables in real estate appraisals

A messy home does not affect a home’s value - unless the extreme mess and clutter prevents an appraiser from accurately appraising the property.

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Do Appraisers Know The Loan Amount?

May 25, 2023

comparables in real estate appraisals

Do appraisers know the loan amount? While they most likely know the sales amount, most appraisers do not know the loan amount when conducting a home appraisal.

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What Are Comparables?

April 13, 2023

comparables in real estate appraisals

Comparables are recent home sales nearby that are similar to the home that is the subject of an appraisal. Find out more about how appraisers choose comps.

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Common Errors To Look For In Your Property Appraisal

March 21, 2023

understanding appraised value

If you believe your home is worth more than it was appraised for, you can challenge the appraisal - but you must be prepared to point out mistakes the appraiser made.

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Do Water Leaks & Mold Remediation Affect The Value Of A Home?

February 17, 2023

understanding appraised value

Do water leaks and mold remediation affect the value of a home when you choose to sell in the future? Appraiser Steve Leavitt answers this question.

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Appraised Value, Market Value & Assessed Value: Understanding The Difference

January 30, 2023

understanding appraised value

What makes the numbers surrounding a home value different? It’s all about how the numbers will be used that determines how they are calculated - and understanding how home values are calculated can help you make the right real estate investment.

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Converting A Garage: How Much Value Does It Add?

November 17, 2022

garage conversion value

Does a garage conversion to livable area increase value, and by how much? Appraiser Steve Leavitt answers this question with a real example from Scottsdale AZ.

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Selling in 2022? Price It Right

October 28, 2022

fall housing market 2022

If you’re selling in this market, there is one piece of advice reputable and trusted real estate advisors are saying: Price It Right.

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How To Prepare Your Home For An Appraisal

September 13, 2022

prepare for house appraisal

Before an Appraiser arrives, there are a few things you should know about preparing your home for an appraisal.

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Alternative Appraisals - Why You Should Avoid Them

August 6, 2022

desktop appraisals

Alternative appraisals are being asked for to provide a quick estimate of property value without paying the cost of a real appraisal. Sounds good, right? Wrong. You want to stay away from alternative appraisals, here's why.

gilbert home appraisal blog

Phoenix Housing Market

June 29, 2022

phoenix housing market

Guest post by Mike Maehl

How is the Phoenix housing market halfway into 2022? Is the predicted downturn actually happening? Let’s take a look.

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Do Solar Panels Increase Home Value?

June 27, 2022

solar panels increase home value

With the cost of using solar systems are going down each year, many AZ homeowners are considering adding solar panels, but do solar panels increase home value?

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Appraisal Challenges with Current Housing Market

May 18, 2022

home appraisal challenges 2022

This past year, with the US housing market on the rise and home sales reaching the highest level in 15 years, appraisers have been facing new challenges. Phoenix appraiser Steve Leavitt discusses.

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What Is A Reverse Mortgage?

April 21, 2022

reverse mortgage

Guest post by Mike Maehl

Reverse mortgages are not well understood by most - here are the basics and in-depth details and background information to help you decide if this is a suitable investment for you.

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Cost-Effective Ways of Upgrading Your Home Office

February 23, 2022

home office update

Guest post by

Upgrading your home office doesn’t have to cost a fortune to create a workspace that maximizes your productivity and focus.

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Why An Appraiser’s Home Measurements Matter

Jan 20, 2022

appraiser measures home

Having the right square footage on a listing contract is crucial - the square footage of the home is one of the most important features buyers look for.

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What Realtors Forget To Tell Buyers About Their Appraisal

Dec 20, 2021

what realtors forget to tell buyers about appraisals

Did your realtor tell you what to expect from an appraiser AFTER you move into your new home? Here’s what you need to know.

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Can I Order My Own Appraisal

October 20, 2021

hire a home appraiser

Wondering if you can speed up the appraisal by ordering your own? Usually the appraisal is for a loan, which means the answer is no - but there are exceptions.

property appraiser blog

Can You Get A Second Opinion On A Home Appraisal?

Sept 29, 2021

 get a second opinion on home appraisal

A low home appraisal can be hurtful in receiving a home loan or refinancing. If you have good reason to believe the appraisal was too low, you can get a second opinion.

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5 Questions To Ask Your Appraiser

Aug 23, 2021

questions to ask your appraiser

Any reputable appraiser is glad to address questions & concerns. Although you cannot try to influence the property value, you can ask the following questions.

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5 Things That Hurt A Home Appraisal

July 27, 2021

what hurts a home appraisal

Besides square footage and condition of the home to determine overall value, an appraiser is also looking for safety hazards or things that could cause damage to the house. Take a look at what can hurt your appraisal.

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10 Things An Appraiser Evaluates In A Home

June 21, 2021

things an appraiser evaluates

What exactly does an appraiser evaluate? There are dozens of internal and external items on the Appraisal Report - we’ve broken them down into 10 easy to understand items.

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Get More From Your Outdoor Space With One Of These Backyard Structures

May 6, 2021

home improvements

Guest post by

Do you wish you had a deck or gazebo to have some extra shade or space? We discuss pros and cons of decks, gazebos, sunrooms, pergolas, and fire pits.

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Do Appraisers See All The Offers Made?

September 23, 2020

do appraisers see offers

It depends on the Realtor. Some Realtors give us copies of all the offers while others only provide the contract that was accepted.

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How Long Does An Appraisal Take?

August 27, 2020

home appraisal in mesa

Depending on the size of the home, an appraiser can spend anywhere from 1 to 4+ hours at your home, and additional time at the office completing the appraisal report. Find out more about what affects the time it takes.

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How Does A Home Appraisal Work?

July 28, 2020

how does a home appraisal work?

A home purchase is the largest, single investment most people will ever make - which is why the home appraisal is so important. But how does a home appraisal work, and what does the homeowner need to know beforehand?

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Can An AZ Sunroom Be Included As Livable Sq Feet?

June 25, 2020

appraisal value of AZ sunroom

Ask The Appraiser: "I'm interested in a house in AZ which includes an added sunroom in the sq footage of the house. For appraisal purposes can this sunroom be included as livable sq feet?"

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What Are Appraisal Extensions & Appraisal Updates?

May 1, 2020

home appraisal extension

Did you know home appraisals have an expiration date? When loan closings or home refinancing takes over 120 days like we are experiencing with COVID-19, appraisals can expire.

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Try These Inexpensive and Easy DIY Home Improvements That Pack a Wallop

April 2, 2020

home improvements

Guest post by

Are you looking for ways to fill your home with flair? Try these DIY projects that overflow with inspiration but are easy on your budget and require minimal skill.

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What Is A Bifurcated Appraisal And Why Should I Care?

Feb 25, 2020

bifurcated appraisal

A Bifurcated Appraisal is when one party inspects the property (spoiler alert - no license needed so it could be a grocery delivery driver inspecting your property) and a separate party (a licensed appraiser) completes the appraisal from their desk. Starting to see why it matters?

phoenix appraisal blog

Appraisal Repairs - Required or Not?

Jan 13, 2020

required home repairs from appraisal

When selling a home, most homeowners hold their breath while waiting for the results of a home appraisal - concerned with the value of the home. But other things can surface during an appraisal - like repairs.

mesa appraiser blog

Anyone Can Request An Appraisal

October 16, 2019

house appraisal request

When buying/selling a home, an appraisal is an essential piece to determining value. But did you know anyone can request an appraisal - not just the bank lender?

phoenix appraisal blog

Lowering Appraisal Requirements: Appraisal Waivers + More

May 21, 2019

appraisal waiver + appraisal requirements

Appraisal requirements are lowering. From appraisal waivers to desktop appraisals + more - find out what's changing and how it affects you!

mesa appraiser blog

Does The Home Appraisal Value Change Frequently?

May 10, 2019

real estate  valuation

Ask The Appraiser: "The appraisal on our home - does the value change weekly or monthly?"

mesa appraisal blog

Skipping The Home Appraisal Can Cost Thousands

May 5, 2019

never skip the appraisal

No appraisal was conducted when this Realtor/Investor bought this AZ home for $400,000. Instead, the realtor relied on an AVM (automated valuation model often done by websites that let you type in an address and spit out a value). The sale price a month later was a disaster.

gilbert appraiser blog

Comparables Less Than 3 Months Old

March 18, 2019

real estate appraisal comparables

Ask The Appraiser: "What if I want my appraisal to only include comparable homes in my neighborhood sold in the last 3 months?"

mesa appraisal blog

Home Appraisal Quality Ratings

February 18, 2019

appraisal quality ratings

Quality ratings appear on your home appraisal, but what do they mean and how does an appraiser rate your home?

gilbert appraiser blog

Are Computer Valuations (AVMs) Smarter Than Appraisers?

January 18, 2019

computer valuation appraisal

Computer programs known as AVMs (Automated Valuation Models) can be a useful tool to check and balance appraisals - but just like the football simulations, they are not always accurate. Here's why.

mesa appraisal blog

Appraisal Waiver - Good or Bad?

June 21, 2018

appraisal waiver

An Appraisal Waiver, or Property Inspection Waiver (PIW), allows you to be approved for a mortgage without an appraisal at all - and we’ve seen it for homes here in AZ. It's a relatively new concept, and some lenders love it. But you want to know about the risks before skipping the appraisal.

maricopa county appraiser blog

Why Paying More For A Home Appraisal Makes Sense

May 18, 2018

home appraisal cost gilbert

Would you look for the cheapest attorney? How about the cheapest Financial Advisor? Probably not - because you know experience and accuracy count when you’ve got a lot on the line. So why would you consider hiring the lowest cost appraisal when it comes to the value of one of your biggest investments? Here’s why paying more for an appraisal might make sense.

gilbert home appraisal blog

What if The Square Footage on Your Home Is Wrong?

March 28, 2018

property measurement, property valuation

There are many reasons why the square footage listed in MLS may differ from the square footage from the county’s assessment of your property, or even the square footage calculated by a home appraiser. But what do you do when this happens?

scottsdale home appraisal blog

How Are New Construction Homes Appraised?

February 23, 2018

new construction appraisal

An appraisal is part of the home buying process, but how can appraiser give a value to a home that hasn’t been built yet?

scottsdale appraiser blog

How Does An Appraiser Value a Home With $100,000 of Recent Upgrades?

February 20, 2018

home improvement value

Ask The Appraiser: When a homeowner upgrades a kitchen, bathroom, or some other part of their home, they want to know what that upgrade is worth when it comes to the sale value of the home. Did it increase the home’s value by the same amount they spent? More? That’s the question we’re looking at.

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Does a Shade Tree Increase a Home’s Value?

February 15, 2018

shade trees and home value

Ask the Appraiser: In Arizona, shade is a valuable commodity in the summertime. But does a shade tree really increase a home’s value?

scottsdale appraiser blog

Low Home Appraisal? Should You Challenge It?

January 25, 2018

low home appraisal?

An appraiser's job is to be impartial on the value of your home. But what if you believe your home is worth more than it was appraised for?

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Home Value of An Addition

January 19, 2018

home addition value

When you look at all the ways to add space to your house, no other method adds more space than a house addition. But what happens to your home value if the addition didn’t have permits?

read more - arizona home addition

The Difference Between a Home Appraisal And a Home Inspection

December 12, 2017

home appraisal inspection

Many people think home appraisals and home inspections are essentially the same thing - but there are some key differences; especially considering an appraiser is looking at the value of the home, while an inspector is looking for any defects.

arizona real estate appraisal blog

Items an Appraiser Always Photographs

November 29, 2017

real estate appraiser mesa

When you have an appraisal done, the appraiser will not only look around at your home and visit each room, but he or she will be taking pictures. Why? Several reasons...

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Yes or No? Property Inspection Waiver

November 1, 2017

piw - property inspection waiver

New in 2017, your lender may give you the option to use a Property Inspection Waiver – or PIW – on your loan application. The waiver allows you to be approved for a mortgage without an appraisal at all. But is this a good thing?

arizona real estate appraisal blog

What If There Are No Direct Comps in the Same Zip?

October 30, 2017

no appraisal comps

Ask The Appraiser: Comparables are important when assessing an appraisal, as they help develop a credible opinion of value. At the end of the day, it’s up to the appraiser to find the most relevant comps that exist and deliver a credible opinion of value.

So what happens when a home has a unique feature unlike any other property sold in the same zip code in the last few years?

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How Are 'Price Per Square Foot' Adjustments Made?

October 12, 2017

price per square foot adjustment

Ask The Appraiser: As an appraiser, I get asked about 'Price per Square Foot' frequently, usually followed with "Why wasn't it the same as my neighbors?" Here's why...

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How to Become a Real Estate Appraiser

September 29, 2017

become a real estate appraiser

According to the Appraisal Institute, every year, for the past eight years, the number of active real estate appraisers has declined. That’s why, when I had a realtor visit my office and ask what he would need to become an appraiser, I thought I would share my answer.

property appraiser blog

Do I Need to Replace a Cracked Window?

August 28, 2017

repairs needed before home appraisal

Ask the Appraiser: I get asked many questions multiple times a day. Yesterday, an agent asked me about a cracked window on a listing - they wanted to know if it would be required to be replaced for an FHA loan.

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Do I REALLY Need To Do Repairs Before An Appraisal?

August 21, 2017

repairs needed before real estate appraisal

A real estate appraisal isn't an inspection. The appraiser looks for things that affect the overall value of the the answer is - Yes and No. Find out the most common repairs you should address.

az property appraiser blog

What Is The Difference Between a Condo and a Townhouse?

August 9, 2017

appraisal - condo vs townhouse

Ask The Appraiser: Technically speaking, what is the difference between a condo and a townhouse?

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Why You Need Your Own Divorce Appraisal

July 1, 2017

divorce appraisal mesa

Divorce settlements involve many decisions, including who keeps the house. The biggest asset in almost every situation is going to be the home. The problem with that is, how much is the home worth? In a divorce, you may not agree...

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Do Appraisers Consider FSBO Properties in Comparable Listings?

May 3, 2017

ask the appraiser

Ask The Appraiser: Do appraisers consider FSBO (For Sale By Owner) properties in their comparable listings when calculating the value of a home? Yes and no....

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What Appraisers Can't Tell Homeowners

March 24, 2017

appraisers can't discuss the appraisal with homeowners

Ever wonder why appraisers can't discuss the appraisal with homeowners? Here's why...

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Mobile Home Appraisals

Jan 19, 2017

mobile home appraisals

Appraisals can be done on mobile and modular homes...but do you know what classifies them into these categories in the first place?

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Ethics in Appraisals

Dec 6, 2016

home appraiser ethics

How do we know an appraiser is giving us an unbiased opinion of value? It all has to do with USPAP.

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Why An Independent Appraisal is Crucial for FSBO

Nov 18, 2016

fsbo appraisal

If you're planning to sell your home, it's a wise decision to make a small investment in a professional appraisal. Unless you study real estate values on a day to day basis like a professional appraiser does, it's difficult for you to get a handle on real estate values - which is why an independent appraisal is crucial.

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FHA Certified Appraiser

Oct 20, 2016

fha certified appraiser arizona

Master Appraisal Services is an FHA-approved appraisal practice in the State of Arizona. If you have an FHA-loan, be sure to call Master Appraisal Services, as we are approved and qualified to produce FHA reports. We're trained and understand the rules and procedures in FHA's guidance and policy documents.

san tan valley appraiser blog

Home Inspection Tips

August 28, 2016

home inspection tips

When it comes to the home inspection, it's important for you to be there and to get to know the condition of the house you are buying, and to choose the right inspector - plus so much more.

arizona appraiser blog

7 Reasons to Skip a Free Home Valuation

July 19, 2016

free home valuations

Have you seen the websites promising to tell you the value of your home with just an address? Homeowners using "free online home value” forms need to know what those results aren't telling them. Find out more.

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Three Approaches to Value

May 18, 2016

appraisal value

There are three ways to determine the value of anything, and each plays a part in property appraisal. Find out how your home will be evaluated, critiqued, and compared before an appraiser can determine your property value.

arizona appraiser blog

Why Get A Home Appraisal?

April 21, 2016

why get an appraisal

It has become an understood and accepted part of a real estate transaction. "Let's bring in the expert and make sure we're not spending too much on this property." But is this the only reason to get a home appraisal? Are there other times when the services of a certified, licensed, independent real estate professional might come in handy? You bet.

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What Is A Home Appraisal?

March 18, 2016

what is a home appraisal

A home appraisal is how we determine a current home or property value, and here are 3 things you need to know about your home appraisal.

arizona appraiser blog