The Residential Appraisal Report – Improvements Section

The bottom half of page 1 of the appraisal report form breaks down your property into its two counterparts and describes the characteristics of each in more detail. The second counterpart is the improvements. The improvements include your home, storage buildings, detached garages, outdoor amenities such as pools, guest houses, etc. Essentially, it’s anything that’s built on the land. It’s important to know that some structures add value and some don’t. The appraiser will use their professional opinion to make the determination.

According to the Uniform Standards of Professional Appraisal Practice (USPAP), 2014-2015, when developing a market value opinion, the appraiser must identify the physical characteristics of the property.

The appraiser will use the characteristics identified in this section to find the most suitable comparable sales for the “Sales Comparison Approach” and cost estimates for the “Cost Approach.”

Please notice the form fields “Finished area above grade” and “Square Feet of Gross Living Area Above Grade.” Many homeowners argue that the appraisal shows the wrong bedroom count, bathroom count, or gross living area (GLA). However, per Fannie Mae Selling Guide September 29, 2015, the appraiser must calculate and report above grade room count and square footage for the GLA. Any basements or below grade area must be reported separately. This includes all bedrooms, bathrooms and finished living space that’s in the basement. 

Deborah Reece