An appraisal is an opinion of the value of a property at a given point in time. The value sought during the appraisal process is the market value of the property. The appraisal process is important in determining the value of a home because real estate transactions occur fairly infrequently, and there could be a lot of factors that could change the value of a piece of property over time. The individual or company that conducts the appraisal will look at things like the area and value of other homes in the area where the property is located. If the area has recently seen new development or businesses come to the area, that could increase the value of the home. An appraiser will usually provide a written document detailing the appraisal. This document is then used for tax purposes or when calculating a mortgage loan.