Reverse Mortgage Process: The Appraisal

One of the steps in the reverse mortgage process is the appraisal, which establishes your home’s value.  When having your home appraised, there are a few things you should know and prepare for to make the process as stress-free as possible.

Calculate Your Eligibility

Why is an appraisal needed?

To determine the value of your home and to ensure the home is safe and structurally sound, the Federal Housing Administration (FHA) requires an appraisal. Per the FHA, a licensed appraiser must inspect the home for anything that may represent a risk to your health and safety along with the soundness of the property. Typically, minor cosmetic issues are not a concern.

What will the appraiser do?

A licensed appraiser will come to your home and inspect both the interior and exterior of the dwelling.


  • The appraiser will do a walk-through of the inside of the home.
  • He/She may turn on and off light switches, run water in the sinks or flush the toilets.
  • They are required by the FHA to visually inspect the attic and crawlspaces.
  • The appraiser will take notes, draw a diagram of your home, and photograph the interior.


  • The appraiser will inspect the outside of the home, including the roof, windows, and foundation.
  • He/She will take pictures and measure your home.
  • If there is a well and septic tank, the appraiser will need to measure the distance between them and the home.
  • The appraiser may also include any areas that need repair.

How long does an inspection take?

Although it varies, a typical inspection takes about an hour to complete.

What does the appraiser do next?

To determine the home’s value, the appraiser will look at comparable homes in your local area as part of the process. He/She may need a few days to complete the entire appraisal report submit it to the lender.

 Will I need a second appraisal?

The FHA will perform a risk assessment to determine if the appraisal is acceptable. Under certain circumstances, the FHA may require a second property appraisal after completing the risk assessment.

How to Prepare for Your Inspection

  • Have unobstructed access to the attic and crawlspace. The appraiser will need to look inside.
  • Make sure smoke detectors and carbon monoxide detectors are installed and functioning.
  • Make sure the water heater is properly strapped.
  • Appraisers will not judge based on the cleanliness of your home. However, decluttering can help the appraiser see your home better.

If you have questions about the reverse mortgage appraisal process or about a reverse mortgage in general, call 1-800-976-6211 to speak with a licensed loan officer.