The appraiser came today, and even though I won't know until at least Monday how our house measured up, I feel much more confident after talking with her. For those of you who have never had an appraisal, here's how it went.
First, she walked through the house and took pictures of each room. Next she measured each room and drew out a floor plan. She also checked the furnace, electircal breaker box, garage, and roof. I told her that the wondows were all double-paned wood replacements with storms, but I don't know if it makes a difference. Hardwood floors got us a big plus. She was interested in photos of the house as it was when we purchased it, which I thought was very considerate. This way, she can see exactly what we had changed and how it may affect value. She measured the outside of the house, the garage (which she considered to be a 3 car because of the workshop [yay!]), then asked about the well and septic.
When I asked what all went into the equation, I didn't get a real answer, which kind of frustrated me. She did say that she wouldn't hold the office work against us, since it would be "easily" completed if we were to sell the house sometime soon. She also took the quality of work in the living room into consideration and applied it to the soon-to-be-finished office. And even though the floors up here need to be refinished, since they aren't buckled, patched, or warped, they count as being in great shape.
So... Even though I won't know for a few days how we appraised, I'm certain that we will rate at least what we paid for the house. I'm guessing it may be higher, since the garage suddenly became a 3-car and the hardwood floors are exposed. And laminate flooring in the kitchen is better than carpet. A somewhat comparable house in our area (newer home, but smaller lot; slightly less square footage, but similar features) is on the market for $140K. Another similar home is on the market for $109K, so there's obviously some variance. I'm hoping for $120K, since then we won't need to pay PMI. It seems as though when we were looking at homes a few years ago, they were selling for less than their appraised value, so we'll just have to see. Regardless, I feel much more optimistic than I did on my bad day. Keep your fingers crossed for us!