The time has come to refinance or sell your home. That means the appraiser is coming to investigate and set a proper value on your property.
Are you ready for the visit? What should you do before they arrive?
In order to make sure the appraiser gives you the highest possible dollar for your home, be sure you take the following suggestions to heart:
How hard or easy the appraiser’s job is going to be is largely dependent on you! Remember that the appraiser is not your enemy; they are the person who can provide you with a maximum value on the home you are about to refinance. Your job is to make the task of appraising your home go as smoothly as possible. It could result in a higher appraisal.
Small upgrades like new ceiling fans, electrical plates and bathroom fixtures can really make a difference in how the appraiser perceives your home. You can make such cosmetic and minor practical changes without spending a lot of money, and you’ll be pleasantly surprised at how much they impact your appraisal on the positive side.
Check for any items that could stand a quick repair. Chipped paint, a broken stair rail or cracked siding are all examples of flaws that will give an appraiser a negative view of your place – and they are all things that could be fixed with a minimum of time and effort. Go through your home with an objective eye – or, better still – have a friend do it. You might be so used to that broken railing on the way up to the second floor that you don’t even notice it anymore.
Make sure your heating and cooling systems are operating smoothly. Your local HVAC contractor probably offers an inexpensive home visit service to test these systems and troubleshoot any problems. Of course, if they find an issue, it will cost you money to repair it -- but it’s better that they discover the problem than the appraiser.
If you do nothing else, at the very least, give your home a thorough cleaning. Make sure the kitchen and bathrooms are spotless. If you have carpeting, pay for a professional cleaning. Since appraisers spend their days going through homes, they will appreciate getting to work in a clean environment when they come to evaluate your place. Putting them in the right mood certainly helps, but, more importantly, a clean home just looks like a more expensive home. And make sure that every space is accessible to the appraiser. Don’t have the stairway to the attic blocked by a big chest of drawers!
And don’t forget the yard, either. Trim the shrubbery, edge the sidewalks, rake the leaves, and mow the lawn. It might not hurt to plant some flowers and put in new mulch, either. Remember that first impressions count for a lot – even to a seasoned, professional appraiser. How your home looks from the curb is the first thing they will see. Make it a vision worth beholding with a few strategic upgrades.
Whenever you do a home improvement -- such as new fencing, roofs, driveway refinishing, or appliance upgrades -- mark the date and the cost of the work. Keep a special log for this purpose and be sure to show it to the appraiser, because it will help them with their determinations. Don’t make them guess!
Let the appraiser know what makes your neighborhood so great. Tell them about new schools and parks and about convenient shopping nearby. Do your homework and give the appraiser a list of comparable area properties. If there have been any short-sales nearby, be sure they know about them so that their pricing doesn’t downgrade your property.