Whether you are planning to sell your home or refinance, an accurate home appraisal is in essential part of the process. The goal of an appraisal is to work out what your home is worth on the current market. This could be very different to the price you paid for the home or the amount that it was appraised for just a few years ago. Appraisals can often be lower than expected in rising price markets, and this has been a common problem in California. Here are some tips on how you can increase your home’s appraisal for a more accurate reflection of value.
Make Sure Your Home Looks Its Best
Aesthetics alone are said not to significantly affect appraisal value, but it will be hard for the appraiser to ignore messy, untidy, or visibly run-down aspects of your home. It may not be a big investment for you but getting rid of home clutter, cleaning all surfaces, and even adding a fresh coat of paint can really change the first impression your home makes. If you’re planning to sell your home you could look into professional staging, even for the home appraisal. Some real estate agents offer staging as a part of the package to help you sell your home.
Spruce Up The Outdoors
If you’re fixing up the indoors, don’t forget the outdoors as well. The view of your home from the curb is usually the first impression your home makes. Sweep or power wash your driveway, tidy up the garden, plant some new flowers, and have your trees trimmed. They are small changes but they can make a big difference to the overall appearance of your home.
Provide Comparable Properties
The appraiser may not be familiar with the area your home is in. Don’t hesitate to provide comparable properties that have recently sold in your area and the sales price for your appraiser. Provide your appraiser with at least three solid and well-priced comparable properties. This ensures your appraiser is getting accurate price information from homes that are really similar to yours and they might even appreciate the help to understand your area better.
Ensure Your Appraiser Knows Your Neighborhood
The location and neighborhood a home is in can dramatically affect its value. However, if your appraiser doesn’t know what’s in your neighborhood they won’t be able to reflect this in the appraisal. If your appraiser is not from within a 10-mile radius of your property they may not know essential nearby resources such as schools, shopping centers, parks, and community services. Try to choose a local appraiser or make sure to talk up your town and the local benefits of your neighborhood that could be significant.
Show What You’ve Invested In The Home
If you have made investments on renovations and fix ups, keep them documented and outlined them to the appraiser. Every home is unique, and it’s important for you to know what makes your home valuable. If you’ve recently updated your kitchen and your bathroom that should be reflected in your appraisal. Some fix ups such a structural improvements, electrical systems, and heating and cooling systems may not be visible on the surface but can add significant value to a home.
Answer Questions But Give The Appraiser Space
During the home appraisal, you want to be available to answer questions but don’t follow your appraiser around everywhere. This could be a major red flag that there is something wrong with the home you are worried they will notice.
Understand Your Rights
If you hired an appraiser yourself, the appraisal belongs to you. If you’re refinancing your mortgage and your lender hired the appraiser, the lender is still required to provide you with a free copy of the appraisal. Look through the written appraisal copy provided and check for errors. You can also look at whether the comparable homes the appraiser chose seem reasonably similar to your home. If you are unsatisfied with your appraisal you can always appeal it and ask the lender to order a second appraisal.
Getting an accurate home appraisal is extremely important so take the time to prepare and ensure you give your home the best chance possible for a great appraisal.