Uniform Residential Appraisal Report: Purpose & Interpretation

Instructor: Traci Cull
The Uniform Residential Appraisal Report form for real estate is a standard appraisal report type used for single-family properties. This lesson will cover why the report is in place, and how to interpret it.

Home Appraisals

Let's meet Penny. Penny is getting ready to sell her home. She remembers that when she bought this home 35 years ago, she had an appraisal done on her old home before selling it. She gets that old appraisal out of her file cabinet and reviews it. She notices that the appraisal appears to be a simple typed out by the appraiser listing what aspects of the property he thought were worthy and important. He describes some characteristics and then states how much the home is worth at the end. Penny thinks to herself, this is just one person's opinion and there were a lot of things about that property that affected the value.

Uniform Residential Appraisal Report Form

Penny wonders if appraisals are still done the same way. She is ready to list her home, has someone interested in purchasing her home, and thinks it would be a good time to get an appraisal done. She calls to speak with an appraiser and asks about what is included in the report. They quickly tell her that there is now a Uniform Residential Appraisal Report form and that it's basically a 'fill-in-the-blank' type of form. The Uniform Residential Appraisal Report form was originally developed by lending institutions so that there would be a standard look to the forms used across the board.

Licensed appraisers use various methods to determine property value. The Uniform Residential Appraisal Report form helps to keep things consistent and makes sure all appraisals are communicated in the same way. All appraisals look the same and contain the same information. Penny is a bit relieved and feels that this uniform report will make sure that all the aspects of her home that affect the value will be included.

Interpreting the Uniform Residential Appraisal Report Form

Penny wants to make certain that she can understand the uniform report so she does a bit of research. She notices that it contains several sections.

Subject

The first section is labeled subject. It contains all the basic information for the property. This is where the address, property description, tax parcel information, etc.

Contract

Right after the subject section is a contract section, which contains the contract information, contract price, and date of contract, and all financial terms in the offer.

Neighborhood

Penny then notices the neighborhood section, which contains the neighborhood description, any market value issues for the neighborhood, boundaries present for that neighborhood, and overall neighborhood characteristics. Certain neighborhood characteristics can affect a property's value.

Site

Penny then sees a site section, which includes the site dimensions, zoning restrictions and regulations for the site, and utility hookups. She continues to work her way through each of the remaining sections.

Description of Improvements

This section accurately reports the status and existence of:

  • Improvements done
  • Improvements/repairs needed
  • Home and basement
  • Attic
  • Basement/cellar/slab
  • Mechanical system review (including HVAC, electrical, and plumbing)
  • External walls, gutters, windows
  • Fences, patios, porches, pools
  • Interior walls, floors, baths, and trim
  • Appliances, room count
  • Carport or garage
  • Any overall deficiency

Sales Comparison Approach

The sales comparison approach section lists the number of comparable properties, as of the date of the appraisal, and the number of comparable properties within 12 months of the date of the appraisal. This section only includes those other properties that are comparable to the subject property. Reasonable adjustments are made to the comparable properties for any price-influencing difference.

Reconciliation and Conditions of Value

If any repairs are required, the appraiser must list the extent of the repairs in the reconciliation repairs section.

Additional Comments

This section allows the appraiser to list any further information about an item, a condition, or an area that was not fully explained in a previous section due to space limitation.

Cost Approach

Cost approach is another method of valuation. If the subject property is a new construction, or the cost approach is widely used in this market area, then it must be used, This type of valuation is NOT required by every Federal Housing Administration (FHA) appraisal. This section basically explains and supports the opinion of site value.

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