When the time has come to refinance or sell your home, you want to make sure the value of your home is appraised accurately. After all, you have maintained it well and want to get maximum value for your property.
Appraisal affects pricing. Knowing what appraisers look for will help you understand the process; you can make sure all important areas of your home are as prepared as possible.
It is important to recognize that when the appraiser arrives at your home, he or she is at the beginning of the appraisal process. Following the inspection, the appraiser will thoroughly research market activity and determine how your home relates to the data collected.
The appraiser will not actually determine the subject property’s value until
the end of the process. You do not need to accompany the appraiser during the property inspection; however, it would be valuable if you are available when they need any information.
Appraisers will look past most clutter, as they are evaluating the
physical characteristics of the home. The laundry doesn’t need to
be done; however tidying up on the day of the appointment will
go a long way toward making a good impression. Remember, the
appraiser will be taking interior and exterior photos to include in
their appraisal report.
It is recommended that your repair minor things like leaky faucets,
missing door handles and trim, broken windows, etc. Additionally,
the exterior of the home and surrounding property should be well
You should make sure that all areas of the interior and exterior of
the home are accessible, especially areas leading to an attic or a
One last item to keep in mind: In order to maintain independence, appraisers are prohibited from discussing value issues or other details of the appraisal report with you.
If during or after the appointment a homeowner has questions about the value or would like specific information about the appraisal report itself, that information must be obtained through your Mortgage Broker and not directly through the Appraisal Firm.
In addition, you should keep the following items in mind:
Size of Property
As you would expect, lot size is taken into consideration when appraising a home. Typically, the larger the property, the greater the value. This gives potential homebuyers the opportunity to expand if they choose. The condition of the property affects the value, too, so it is wise to have it well-groomed when an appraiser arrives.
House Size and Footprint
As with the property, the size of the home is a critical factor. A larger home with a number of rooms will be of greater value, with the number of bedrooms and bathrooms a key factor. Growing families want to know that their home will accommodate additional family members as well as weekend guests in the future.
Here is where details come in. Outside the home, the appraiser will do a thorough inspection. The structure of your home and its foundation are checked for deterioration, cracks, settling, rotting, leaks and a number of other possible structural issues. The roof and any siding are inspected to see what materials they are made from and their condition.
Older homes, in particular, can be prone to deterioration in some of these areas. An experienced real estate professional can help you identify issues that may require attention outside and inside your home. You may want a home inspection of your own so you can have things repaired according to code before the appraiser is scheduled.
Like the exterior, the interior of your home will undergo the same scrutiny. The appraiser looks at the materials used in construction and their current condition. Defects in the doors, flooring, walls and windows factor into the appraisal.
Plumbing is checked carefully for leaks, drips, cracks, water pressure and how quickly hot water flows once the tap is activated. Lighting fixtures and kitchen appliances are also on the appraiser’s list.
What have you done over the years to improve the safety and comfort of your home? Those upgrades will have a positive impact on the appraiser’s valuation.
A swimming pool and garage ups the value, along with air conditioning, ceiling fans and fireplaces. Bathroom and kitchen improvements like skylights, designer tubs, upgraded cabinets or countertops and upscale kitchen appliances will have a positive impact on the overall evaluation.
Other Ideas to Boost an Appraisal
- Take care of all minor repairs so everything in your home is shown in tip-top shape. Keep the exterior of the home manicured, with cleaned gutters and trimmed hedges. Touch up chipped paint, outside and inside. A thorough cleaning inside the home will take care of dusty ceiling fans, grimy baseboards, spider webs, etc. If you have pets, make sure all stains and smells are eliminated.
- Pay attention to curb appeal. Take an hour and spruce up the outside of your home. Not only is it the appraiser’s first impression, but the appraiser will spend a bit more time staring at the outside of your house as he/she makes notes and takes measurements.
- List your updates. State what work was done, by what company and when. If possible, give the appraiser this list. That way they have a reference as to what has been updated and how recent or professional that work was done. They’ll also take this into account if a repair or upgrade is required . That means leaky faucets, cracked windows and missing handrails can have a significant financial impact on your home’s value—even if it doesn’t cost that much to fix.
- One last tip: don’t bug the appraiser with questions and comments. Instead, simply be prepared to answer any of their questions and, if you do have concerns or queries, wait until they’ve completed their inspection, then ask.
By following these tips, you’ll get the highest appraised value for your home.