Understanding Our Desktop Appraisal Process and Benefits

Blog posted On March 17, 2022

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During the COVID-19 pandemic, the top priority for many was keeping distance. Companies sent employees home, restaurants closed their dine-in service, and people began moving out of large cities to more spacious suburban areas. However, in the home buying/selling process, you will often want to take a tour, have an open house, and get an appraisal – all of which typically were conducted in person. But when the pandemic hit, the real estate industry adjusted. Many companies began advertising virtual home tours, e-sign documents, and desktop appraisals.

What is a desktop appraisal?

A normal appraisal would involve a professional appraiser going to the property to provide an in-person valuation. A desktop appraisal is a property valuation estimate that is conducted completely virtually.

How is a desktop appraisal conducted?

Instead of walking through the home in person, an appraiser will use different tools to gather necessary information to make their valuation. Such information can include:

  • Floor plan
  • Amenities
  • Square footage
  • Photographs of the home’s interior and exterior
  • Recent sales of similar properties
  • Current market trends

To gather this information without visiting the home, an appraiser will use tools like the multiple listing service (MLS) and recent tax records.

Benefits of desktop appraisals

Desktop appraisals are appealing to home buyers, sellers, and REALTORS® alike for several different reasons.

  • Faster processing – The main benefit of desktop appraisals is that they save time. Without the hassle of scheduling an in-person visit, traveling to the property, and returning to an office to evaluate the information gathered, an appraiser can move through the appraisal process much quicker. Oftentimes this can shave days or even weeks off of your closing timeline.
  • Avoid in-person contact – Although this was a larger concern earlier in the pandemic, it still is important to some. If you or your client is immunocompromised, feeling ill, or simply very busy, you might not want to (or have time to) welcome an appraiser into the home. 
  • Accurate valuations – It may be a concern that desktop appraisals are not as accurate as in-person appraisals. However, many desktop appraisals are conducted based on thorough research, and accurate tax records, sales prices, and information from the multiple listing service (MLS).

Fast closings are key in the modern market. If you’re selling a home, you want the process to be swift and timely. If you’re buying a home, you not only want a swift process, but you need it in order to make the strongest offer possible. Another great way to make a stronger offer is by getting preapproved.

If you would like to learn more about our desktop appraisals, let us know.