The home appraisal is an integral part of the home selling process. It helps to determine the “market value” of a property so buyers neither overpay for a house nor get it for a “steal.” The appraisal breaks down into three parts, though this can vary by state:
● Comparables (how other homes in the neighborhood are valued)
● Final report
As you prepare for a profssional home appraisal, here’s what you can do to ensure you get the best possible report and value for your home.
Keep Up Appearances
Ensure the following when an appraiser comes to assign a market value to your home:
● A healthy and hospitable appearance
● Proper drainage away from the foundation and/or basement
● Egress windows in all bedrooms for fire safety
● For homes built before 1978, no lead-based paint concerns
● Handrails on all stairs and steps
● A properly functioning heating system that provides ample comfort
● A roof in good condition
Though home appraisers won’t put a “black mark” in their books for the messiness of your home, it does help to have it organized. They’ll be able to see some of the high selling points if they’re not covered under clutter.
Provide Necessary Paperwork
Appraisers absolutely must have all of the paperwork available about your property before they arrive. If they don’t get this information from your lender or broker beforehand, then you should have it in a folder, ready to hand over. This information includes:
● Major improvements
● Age and condition of the roof, HVAC system and major appliances
● Permits for any DIY projects
The more information they have on-hand about your house, the better they can value it.
List Only Essentials
Never list extra square footage in your overview to the appraiser. While you may think your basement or attic counts as square footage, this isn’t always the case. If you’re unsure, it’s best to hire a home inspector or REALTOR® to advise you on acceptable square footage. You should also take care to provide accurate square footage for individual rooms. While you might be tempted to add a few extra square feet here and there, your appraiser has no problem looking up the actual numbers — and it could hurt you in the end.
Home appraisals aren’t just for sellers; they’re for homebuyers and refinancers too. In the case of a buyer, a buyer’s lender will generally have a different appraiser look through the home and perform an independent assessment. If the buyer’s assessment doesn’t match up against the seller’s, discrepancies may be addressed as needed. It also helps to see where potential problems may lie before listing your home, in case you need to make repairs.