In order to find out the true value of your home, it will need to be appraised. Usually, this takes place when the buyer requests it or the bank associated with the mortgage requests it. However, you can have an appraisal done ahead of time to be better prepared.
According to Home Appraising Group, real estate appraisers in Philadelphia, “Commonly, appraisers are hired by mortgage lenders to estimate the value of a home involved in a loan transaction. Appraisers also provide opinions in litigation cases, tax matters, and investment decisions.”
Some other examples of when you’ll need an appraisal are if you’re applying for a loan, to settle an estate, or if you’re going through a divorce. Here are some tips to help you prepare if your house needs to be appraised.
5 Tips for a Successful Home Appraisal
1. Fix Everything
When you find problems, fix them right away. If you don’t, the value of your house will decrease during the appraisal. You should make any inexpensive repairs and upgrades that you can. Every little detail could end up putting minus signs on your appraisal.
Follow the $500 rule. As long as you spend less than $500, the repairs should pay for themselves in the value of your home. Basic repairs shouldn’t cost too much; you can do a lot with that $500.
Upgrades are what can cost you a lot. If you want to make upgrades, make sure they’re to the kitchen or bathrooms, as these will get you the most return on your investment.
Keep every record of improvements you make. Your appraiser will want to see them on the day of the appraisal and make sure the records match what is included in your house.
2. Don’t Wait Until the Last Minute
A home appraiser can sometimes find things wrong with your house that you didn’t even know about. Having the appraisal done before you have a buyer gives you time to fix those issues before you’re trying to close the sale.
If you put off the appraisal until you have a buyer, discovering a big problem late could scare them away. It’s in your best interest to get everything fixed as soon as possible.
And if you know there is something wrong, you should definitely fix it. Don’t count on the appraiser overlooking the problem; they will find it.
3. Clean Inside and Out
The condition of your home is one of the factors in an appraisal. If it’s dirty, that’s a strike against its condition, regardless of what it could theoretically look like once it’s clean. The more work the new owners have to do when they move in, the less value your house will have.
Make sure you clean every inch of the house, even the places you don’t think the appraiser will look; they will look there. If you think something is hidden away, the appraiser will find it.
Give some attention to the yard and exterior of the house as well, especially in front of the house. Curb appeal is important. If the appraiser has a bad first impression, it could affect the rest of the appraisal.
4. Make the Appraiser’s Job Easy
Once you’ve made repairs and cleaned, all that’s left to do is wait for the appraiser to arrive, and when they do, make it easy for them to get done quickly. Making life easy for them won’t necessarily improve your appraisal, but it can’t hurt to be on the appraiser’s good side.
Open everything up before they get there, and make everything easily accessible. Once they arrive, greet them and leave them alone. You don’t need to follow them around the house, and doing so will seem suspicious.
5. Do Your Research
Find out what comparable homes in your area are selling for. That way, you’ll have an idea of what to expect. If the appraisal is significantly lower than similar houses in the area, you can ask why it’s lower and possibly appeal the appraisal.
Get some help from your real estate agent if you can. They will be able to help you with your research and get access to the information you might not be able to get yourself. If you don’t have this information, you’ll just have to accept whatever the appraiser tells you.
Are you having your appraisal done early or scrambling to prepare at the last minute? You can get things done last-minute, but getting them done ahead of time is much easier and cuts down on unnecessary stress. Let us know how your preparations are going in the comments below!
About the Author
Jennifer Bell is a freelance writer, blogger, dog-enthusiast, and avid beachgoer operating out of Southern New Jersey