When you need to list your home for appraisal, it must be in top condition. It does not matter whether you are selling on the market or having an appraisal done on a refinance. Your home must be clean and attractive so that someone appraising it will not find any reason to lower the value of your property.
Appraisers look at certain aspects of your home when they come in to appraise. They look at the neighborhood’s quality, size, the shape of your property, and other elements that can help give them value based on their knowledge and expertise.
When you get ready for an appraisal on your house, the steps below can help ensure everything goes smoothly.
Prepare Your Home for Appraisal
The first thing involved in getting your home ready for an appraisal is cleaning up especially, with the help of a professional home cleaning service, making repairs, and home additions before the actual appraisal, so the inspector has access throughout your entire house and all its features. That means clearing out clutter, putting away personal items, fixing broken windows, locking unsecured doors, etc.
It is important to be thorough during this step because appraisers want an accurate assessment of the market value of your home, and if they cannot access parts of it or see the damage because you did not clean up before their visit, they will not be able to determine what features are included or how much work is needed.
Those of you who have been thinking about selling your homes should also start to think about preparing for an appraisal. The home will need to be in tip-top shape when a professional appraiser walks through it, so consider getting the dilapidated items fixed up and removing other items from the premises before your home is officially on the market.
Home preparation should begin well ahead of the sale. Your home must stand out among others in today’s competitive housing market. Your best bet for this is to get any necessary repairs done as soon as possible before prospective buyers go through it.
Take Care of Small Repairs Before an Appraisal Visit
If there are small things that need fixing around the house, and even though this step may seem tedious, it is important to get them done before appraisal day. This includes little things like mending holes in walls or cleaning out gutters.
You do not want any potential damage to go unnoticed by the appraiser, so it is best to take care of these repairs ahead of time, so everything shows up on the report as not requiring attention.
Do what you can yourself. If doing minor repairs is not out of your expertise, ask homeowners friends and family members to help complete larger tasks, such as painting or installing new flooring or fixtures.
If hiring an outside contractor is too expensive for your budget, check with local home improvement stores about discounts offered specifically for homeowners getting their homes ready for appraisal.
Declutter Your House
Home care and organization are key in any real estate transaction because it only takes one small detail to get missed for an appraisal to be called into question, and that can result in either a denied loan or a lower value for your house than expected.
So, take the time before you put your home up for sale to declutter all of the rooms and then continue tossing unnecessary items as they come into the house. Include getting rid of old food products around the kitchen area, making sure trash is taken out regularly, and bringing storage areas back to their original state, so no unidentifiable junk piles are creeping up on corners.
Clutter can be a big turn-off for potential buyers. Organize those knickknacks into one room or stash them away from public view entirely. This does not mean your house needs to look like a showroom. It means you do not want to make buyers nervous about where to put their belongings.
A cluttered home gives the impression of less square footage. Ensure all floor surfaces are clear of heavy objects and furniture, so the appraiser does not have to second-guess what covers floorboards or potential storage spaces.
Less is more. Keep only the necessities and do not over-decorate. The appraiser comes to evaluate your property, not redecorate it. An organized house makes it easier for buyers to see themselves living there, and that is ultimately what you want.
Create a New Exterior Appearance
If you list your home for sale, it is a good idea to create a new exterior appearance that is appealing and inviting. This is a simple task involving an investment of time and money. If you go this route, you can add value in the eyes of potential buyers and how an appraiser will view the property.
Suppose you consider a home addition or any other home updates, such as fixing up the landscaping or painting parts of the house. In that case, these new exterior features become some of the more tangible characteristics that help determine how much someone would be willing to pay for your home.
When getting a fair value appraisal, you need to make sure your home looks its best. Start by performing a thorough exterior inspection of the home and recording any problems that may affect the final appraisal estimate in writing on a standard form or log sheet. While some items may seem trivial, they will all add up to assist or hinder the appraiser in arriving at their opinion of value for this particular residence.
If applicable, ensure your address is visible from the road with no obstructions, such as overgrown shrubbery or vines, overhanging roofs blocking the address, and broken door lights.
It is highly recommended to remove any obstructions such as dead limbs from trees and shrubs within three feet of your home’s exterior as they can easily damage siding and gutters during a storm. Repair or replace damaged siding as needed; use high-quality vinyl materials for repairs.
Ensure all doors on their hinges seal completely when closed. No air gaps should be visible between the door and frame. Having plenty of lighting around doorways goes a long way in facilitating easy nighttime ingress and egress. Repaint weather-worn exterior doors. Select an oil-based primer followed by topcoat paint, which will help prevent rusting or further weather damage.
Know Which Doors Are Sealed
Doors that are sealed shut are not accessible and therefore contribute nothing towards a proper valuation. You should open up any sealed doors with the help of home construction services if you are selling your home. Doing this means that the appraiser will have a better understanding of how much space is available and be able to see what kind of condition those spaces are in.
This can have an impact on valuation because, for example, if there is a big storage area right next to the garage, it could mean that buyers might be willing to pay a little more for a home with a bigger garage even though it is smaller overall due to the extra square footage right nearby.
Consider working closely with an appraiser who specializes in homes that have been divided into multiple units or compartmentalized areas so that they will know exactly how much these kinds of adjustments would help or hinder the value of your home.
Know Which Items Are Personal
Personal items like family photos, documents, financial records such as investment, retirement, and bank account statements, children’s things like toys, and anything else that might indicate what kind of lives people who live in your home lead can all impact valuation by providing insight into how much someone with a similar lifestyle would be willing to pay for your property.
You must have everything removed before potential buyers come by for their showings. Also, try to clear out the garage so that there are no cars on the driveway or clutter around anywhere because these things can provide false impressions about living, which will reduce the value they place on your home.
Ready for a Thorough Inspection
When conducting the appraisal, the inspector will carefully look at every part of the house and its systems. The inspector will also look for signs of poor craftsmanship, including poorly done renovations and new HVAC company installations. They’ll do this by looking at the building materials themselves and checking to ensure home builders installed or used them correctly.
For example, if a contractor slapped some sheetrock on your walls using common nails instead of molly bolts, the weight from hanging pictures on them could cause small cracks in the sheetrock plaster below it, leading to bigger problems down the road.
All appliances will be tested during the inspection process as well. Homeowners need to consider HVAC install repair services before the inspection. The need for such repairs will significantly impact the value of the property.
Before the appraisal inspection, you must make sure to have all of the utilities turned on because turning them off may stop an appraiser from completing their work, and it will also prevent them from checking electrical items like built-in appliances, light fixtures, and plumbing features as well as HVAC systems that may require electrical repair.
They need access to everything to determine what they should value your home for. At this time, you also need to decide if you want to leave any personal items behind or if you want them removed during the showings that are scheduled after the appraisal inspection is complete. This information should be communicated with your real estate agent so that they can properly prepare everyone involved in these matters.
Be Honest About the Condition of Your Home and Any Repairs Needed
Homeowners should be honest with their appraiser about any appliance repair or upgrade that they have made to their homes. This information can affect the home’s sales price, which is factored into its appraised value. If you are unwilling to disclose this type of information, an appraiser might assume that the repairs need to be made or that anything else they discover is true.
It is important to disclose all necessary repairs required before moving forward with an appraisal. This means giving the appraiser a list of needed repairs and including receipts, if possible, on any work done on the house, no matter how minimal you think they might be.
The appraisal process for most homeowners is not an experience they are looking forward to. For many, it is a time of stress, panic, and major concern that the appraiser’s value will not be high enough to pay off the loan.
Even if you have bought or refinanced your home numerous times before, there are often new factors at play every time you do it again, like rising interest rates, changes in lending criteria, and reappraising trends based on recently sold prices.
It can become difficult to keep up with these changing dynamics, but making sure that your home is in good condition and ready for inspection is one of the most important factors.
This means any repairs or updates to the home will need to be done before the appraisal. Keep in mind that when you are looking at the value of your home, an appraiser is looking at it from a buyer’s perspective, and if they cannot get their money out of it, then neither can you.
The appraiser must be able to justify why this house is worth what they say it is or face scrutiny by other members on the appraisal panel.
No matter what condition your home might be in, there are always improvements that can be made to bring up its overall value, so do not get discouraged if major structural problems exist. Know you will not be getting top dollar for it.
When selling a home, several things need to be taken care of before you can put it on the market. One is making sure your home has been inspected by a professional, so there are no major problems. This is also known as an appraisal. The appraisal will let buyers know how much your house is worth to decide whether or not they wish to buy it.