Getting the family home valued - should we be there?
May 3, 2013 4:16 AM   Subscribe

Our Dad passed away last year, leaving his house to my siblings and me. Dad's defacto partner is interested in buying the house (she has no financial stake in it currently), so we need to get it valued. The house is in a town approximately 7 hours drive from where the nearest siblings (myself and my sister) live. There are are a couple of registered valuers in the area, so that's not a problem, but my question is: is there any particular need for us to be there when they come through?

Dad's partner is currently staying in the house (with family permission), so presumably she could let the valuers in and let them do their thing. However, not having done this sort of thing before, I'm not sure whether it's best for myself or my sister to be there, in case there are questions etc regarding the house. My work hours are pretty flexible, so I can drive over there if I need to - I'm just not sure if I need to, especially as the round trip will wind up taking two days of my time.

Dad's partner will of course be there, but since it's her who's interested in buying the house, she's not exactly a disinterested party, should the valuers have any questions.

This is in New Zealand, if that's relevant.
posted by Broseph to Home & Garden (8 answers total)
In my experience, appraisers generally do their thing without any interaction with the current occupants of the home, and without seeing the inside. But that is in the U.S., and it may differ even among locations here.
posted by yclipse at 4:35 AM on May 3, 2013 [1 favorite]

Maybe ask the appraiser if you should be there. Surely any questions can be answered by phone, so maybe you can just ensure you're near a phone during the inspection time.
posted by backwards guitar at 4:42 AM on May 3, 2013

I have been present during many appraisals when I sold real estate and the appraiser is usually in the house for 10 minutes. They are going to take pictures and check out condition. The bulk of the work comes after when they look for conpareables and make the adjustments to value of those sales prices against what your house has. I wouldn't bother going out for that, especially since its such a trip.
posted by polkadot at 4:44 AM on May 3, 2013

Response by poster: Thanks, guys.
posted by Broseph at 5:04 AM on May 3, 2013 [1 favorite]

Most appraisers spend their time measuring things. They take a ton of pictures. Very little interaction with the homeowner, so don't sweat it.
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 7:13 AM on May 3, 2013

I live in Austin and my mother is now in a retirement community here. When we sold her house in Houston, neither of us was present while the appraiser visited.
posted by immlass at 10:31 AM on May 3, 2013

I don't think you need to be there. It's becoming less common (at least in the US, where my mother is a valuer) for an appraiser to enter the home, unless the house has particularly unique architectural features. If they do enter, it's usually just to take measurements and verify the number of rooms. It's done in less than 10 minutes. Many valuations are done where the valuer/appraiser simply walks around the outside of the house and takes measurements of the exterior (this is in the case where previous appraisals are on file, or there are sufficient "comps" in the neighbourhood of similar previous home sales to compare against.) In fact, in the US, it has become quite common for valuations to be done as "drive by's", where the valuer drives by, takes a snapshot of the house, and relies solely on comparable property values in the neighbourhood. This type of appraisal is what banks typically use in refinancing or handling a mortgage default. It's not worth the money to pay for a more thorough appraisal, because the comps get you close enough.

But, as ruthless bunny says, very little need for interaction, if at all.
posted by amusebuche at 3:48 PM on May 3, 2013

I was recently in a very similar situation.
To cut a long story short, someone contested the original appraisal (where I was present), and we ordered another (where I couldn't make the 6 hour drive). The appraisals were almost exactly identical.
posted by mumimor at 8:14 AM on May 4, 2013

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