Appraisal Profession, Appraising, Helpful for FSBO, Helpful Info For Agents, Helpful to Home Owners

What’s the Shelf Life of An Appraisal?

Sharing is caring!

All the food we buy has a shelf life. If you do some research, you will find a number of definitions for what shelf life means. According of the Institute for Food Science and Technology, as noted in, it is “the period of time during which the food product will remain safe; be certain to retain its desired sensory, chemical, physical, microbiological and functional characteristics; where appropriate, comply with any label declaration of nutrition data, when stored under the recommended conditions.”

Wow! That’s a mouthful! Basically, it’s the period of time that the food is safe to eat and taste good, or at least basically what we’d expect. Even before the food is prepared, the countdown has already begun. Why?

Food naturally breaks down. The rate of deterioration is dependent upon many external factors, including but not limited to, light, temperature, barrier properties (containment or packaging), oxygen, humidity and consumer handling.  All these things affect the  shelf life.

Proper packaging and food ingredients play a role. However, they do not stop the aging of food. It only slows it down. For instance, how long is the shelf life of ketchup? According to Kraft Heinz spokesperson, Lynne, Galia, as reported in What’s the Shelf Life of a Ketchup Packet?, an article in, a packet of ketchup has “a shelf life of about 9 months”. If you find an old packet of ketchup under your car seat, and it happens to be over 9 months old, is it toxic? According to Lynne, “After that…the ketchup still probably won’t harm you if you eat it because of those long-lasting ingredients like vinegar, tomatoes, sugar, salt and spices; but it probably won’t taste like the best ketchup you’ve ever had, either.”

Check out this interesting video about foods with a very long shelf life. 


What about meat? According to, the following is the estimated shelf life of some of our favorite meats when refrigerated:

  1. Bacon – Fresh 5-7 days / Cooked 7-10 days.

  2. Beef – Fresh roast, steaks, chops or ribs 3-5 days, fresh liver or variety meats 1-2 days / Cooked 3-4 days.

  3.  Turkey – Whole, cut or giblets 1-2 days

  4.  Pork – Steaks, chops, roasts 3-5 days, variety cuts 1-2 days.



What about if you don’t eat meat? Here is the estimated shelf life of some of our favorite veggies when refrigerated:

  1. Carrots – Raw 2-3 weeks / Cooked 3-5 days.

  2. Lettuce – Iceberg & Romaine 7-9 days, Mache 1-2 days, Boston 2-3 days, Butter -35 days and Lollo Rosso 2-3 days.

  3.  Pumpkin – Raw 1-3 months / Cut 2-3 days.

  4.  Yams – Raw 1-2 weeks / Cooked 3-5 days.


Well, I’ve yammered on enough about food shelf life. Check out that website. It has a lot of great information on food shelf life. I cannot guarantee any of this. So, consumers beware. Let’s talk about the shelf life of something that is not edible.


All of this has let me to the question du jour. What is the shelf life of an appraisal?  I am asked on a regular basis, “How long the appraisal is good for?”. The simple answer is, one day. Namely, the effective date of the report. Real estate appraisals reflect the appraiser’s opinion of value of the property being appraised, based upon a specific point in time. Why?

Real estate values are changing every day. Like food, there are external forces that affect the value of a home, and how rapidly it changes. Does that mean that the appraised value will be dramatically different the day after the effective date of the appraisal? Probably not. However, no appraiser can see into the future to know what tomorrow will bring.


What are some things that could affect the market value of a home the day after the effective date of the appraisal?

Natural disasters are one. What if the day after a home is appraised, massive fires destroy the neighborhood? This is a terrible reality that is taking place on a frightening level right now in the western states, and primarily in California. My heart continues to go out to people affected by these catastrophic fires. Natural disasters can have an impact on market value for many reasons. Even after homes are rebuilt, the increase in insurance rates can have an impact on market value.

What if something happens to the home the day after it is appraised? Say a huge tree falls on the home the day after it is appraised. That would certainly change the market value in a day! For some video demonstrating the importance of always hiring a professional to cut down trees that are near your home, just watch this video.


Let’s talk about something more positive. Say the day after the effective date of the appraisal, it is announced that a large manufacturer is moving into the area. They will bring many jobs to the area. Furthermore, the anticipated economic stimulus will create opportunities that will bring smaller businesses to the area, including more shopping, restaurants and other desired amenities. That could have a positive impact on market value in an area in a short period of time, depending on the situation. While it may not appear to be immediate, the positive change has begun.

There are many other changes, both good and bad, that may impact the market value of a home. No one knows what tomorrow will bring.


You’ve no doubt heard that “change is a constant”.  That means that change is occurring continuously. This is one of the primary reasons why the appraised value is made as of a specific date.

If you are reading an appraisal that was communicated on a report style format, usually, there are boxes to indicate that property values in the neighborhood are in decline, stable or increasing. If you see the “stable” box checked, does that mean that there is no changing in values taking place? No. Sales prices in any neighborhood fluctuate up and down due to changes in supply and demand, which are typically seasonal.

If the “stable” box is checked, it doesn’t mean that there is zero change. It simply means that the levels of fluctuation are relatively minimal. Many in the lending world consider neighborhood appreciation rates of 3% or less, to be stable. But what may be considered stable in one area, may be different in another. Part of the appraiser’s research and analysis is to make this determination. The appraiser should be able to support what they indicate in the appraisal, using data from the subject’s market area.

The appraiser will make time adjustments to reflect major changes in the rates of appreciation or depreciation taking place in that market area.

The appraised value may stay relatively similar for many months, or longer, depending on what the market is doing. However, during periods of rapid sales price decline or increase, the value may change relatively quickly. Appraisers can measure these rates of change and adjust accordingly. Even down to the day if necessary. It is always desirable to use the most recent sales available. Especially when there are rapid changes in home prices. However, there are times when the best comparable sale may have sold some time in the past. Even beyond a year. Time adjustments can be made to bring the sales price of that comparable sale to what is current.


On a regular basis, I perform appraisals in which my client needs a value based upon a date in the past. These are called retrospective appraisals. This type of appraisal is often used for probate work and for marriage dissolutionIn this type of appraisal, the appraiser will use data from the time period in which value is being based upon. 

Sales and market activity are based upon that historical data. Interestingly, since the value is historical, we can see what the market did after the effective date of the appraisal in this case, which can be beneficial.

I also perform appraisals in which some forecasting is required. This is how relocation appraisals work.  In this type of appraisal, we use historic trends to forecast an opinion  of the anticipated sales price of a home at a future time period. The client will provide the appraiser with the specific time period. Typically, it is 120 days from the time the home is inspected. In this type of appraisal, we apply forecasting adjustments in order to establish the anticipated sales price of the home being appraised.

Of course, since we cannot foresee what the future will hold, we must make some assumptions. For instance, we must assume that the home being appraised will be in the same condition at that future time period. We must also assume that market conditions will continue as they historically have.

While relocation companies typically order these kinds of appraisals, if you are a home owner or an investor, you can hire an appraiser to perform a similar analysis of the property you are looking to renovate to see what the anticipate sales price of the property may be a few months down the road. Of course, it would not be completed on the same form that is used for relocation appraisals.


Since the appraised value is based upon a specific day, what can you do if you wanted to make sure that the appraised value is supportable six months down the road? Do you need to have a new appraisal completed? That really depends on what you need.

If you’re looking for an opinion of value based upon a different time, then yes, you will need to have a new appraisal completed. Or, if you want a new appraisal completed using the same date as the former one, but you have changed the scope of work, then yes, you will need a new appraisal. For instance, say you had your home appraised based upon its current condition. Then later, you decide that you would like to know what your home would be worth if you renovated it. Even if the effective date remains the same, the scope of the work has changed. That requires a new appraisal.

However, what if you had your home appraised, and you just want to validate that the original appraised value has not declined? You can do what many lenders do. You can order an appraisal update. In an appraisal update, the appraiser will pull new data and analyze the most current market trends and data, including what the most recent comparable sales are selling for, to determine whether or not the original appraised value has decreased or not.

Just a little note on this, the appraiser should not use the same Fannie Mae Appraisal Update (1004D) that lenders require. The reason is that the form clearly states that Intended Use of this form is for “mortgage finance transactions”. However, the same work can be performed for you, the homeowner. It is less expensive than having a new appraisal completed, and it might help you to have a better idea of whether the shelf life of your original appraised value has expired.

I hope this information has helped you to better understand a little about why the appraised value is based upon a specific day.

Enjoy spending time with your friends and family, and watch the shelf life of the food you consume! As always, thanks so much for reading my article!

Looking for a qualified real estate appraiser in your area? Go to

FindMyAppraiser Logo


Are you a consumer looking for information on real estate? Go to

Consumer Home Value Logo


If you enjoy listening to podcasts, check my new podcast out. I hope you enjoy it! You can find my on Apple Podcast, Google Play as well as other feeds. Home Value Stories Logo

You can also listen right here at Cleveland Appraisal Blog!


Here are some links to other articles and videos I enjoyed recently! I hope you will also…

Our Tall Housing Future Is Still Defined By Its Past – Housing Notes by Jonathan Miller

We Welcome John Russell with the American Society of Appraisers! – Voice of Appraisal with Phil Crawford

Sometimes I like to Sit Here in the Dark and Put Umbrellas in my Car – The Appraiser’s Advocate with Tim Andersen (Click here for the podcast of this topic)

Pros and Cons Of A Pre-Listing Appraisal – Birmingham Appraisal Blog

Newz; Appraisal Fees – Previous Careers – Dungeon – APPRAISAL TODAY

5 Killer Secrets to Selling your Home at the Highest Price – Gynell Vestal, Owner of Consumer Home Value

What Counts as Living Area in an Appraisal? Shannon Slater, Contributor for Consumer Home Value

How might rent control affect the housing market? – Sacramento Appraisal Blog

Does Gratitude Make Money? – George Dell’s Analogue Blog

What Is In Your Work file and What Does Analyze Mean? – The Appraiser Coach

So You Wanna Start A Podcast? Part 1 – Real Value Podcast

So You Wanna Start A Podcast? (Part 2 ) – Real Value Podcast (And thanks to Blaine for the shout out to my podcast! Blain has helped me a lot with this information on starting a podcast.)

Who does that appraiser work for? – Craig Capilla, Contributor for Consumer Home Value 

2 thoughts on “What’s the Shelf Life of An Appraisal?”

Leave a Reply