What are the essential tools and equipment to bring along when completing an on-site appraisal inspection? Recently we asked our Facebook community, “What one thing do appraisers need to have in their cars at all times?” It turns out people have varying opinions on the matter. Of course, the contents of an appraiser’s toolkit (or car) will vary from one appraiser to another. Here are twenty great ideas to consider.
What should an appraiser always have on-hand?
- Camera: This is a must-have. Some appraisers like using a dedicated camera for their appraisal inspections; other appraisers use the camera on their mobile device.
- Cell phone: Many appraisers use this as both their GPS and backup camera.
- Phone charger: Don’t forget to bring a phone charger along, too. What good is your cell phone without any power?
- Measuring tape: Even if you prefer to use a laser device for measuring, it’s a good idea to bring a measuring tape along as a backup.
- Tablet (or clipboard and pens): Nowadays many appraisers use their tablets or smartphones for recording observations. Others still use pen and paper. It’s up to you.
- Flashlight: You can use the flashlight on your phone, but it may not provide enough light, especially in vacant properties where the utilities are turned off. Consider keeping a standard flashlight in your car, too.
- Ladder or step stool: You may need this for accessing attics, particularly during FHA appraisal assignments.
- Waterproof jacket: Even in non-FHA appraisals, you may need to get into an attic or crawl space. A waterproof coat or coveralls will keep your clothes from getting dirty. It’s also good to have on-hand in case of an unexpected rainstorm.
- Batteries: It’s a good idea to carry back-up batteries for any devices that require them (e.g., flashlight).
- Screwdriver: A screwdriver has many uses. You can use it to take the cover off a crawl space entry panel, check wooden structural members for rot or insect damage, remove an electrical outlet cover to check for insulation in the walls, etc.
- Voltage detector: To determine whether wires are live.
- Ice pick: To check for termites or wood rot.
- Marble: To check floor level.
- Magnet: To determine whether old pipes are made of iron or lead.
- Mace or pepper spray: To defend yourself in case of any “scary encounters.”
- Hand sanitizer: To protect yourself from germs.
- Bug spray: To protect yourself from mosquito bites.
- Water and snacks: Especially if you are driving out to a remote property.
- Business card: You never know when you might meet a potential client. Always keep a business card or two in your car.
- Gas 😉
Do you have other ideas about the most important item(s) every appraiser should have on-hand at all times? Join the conversation! Visit our Facebook page to add your comments.