What to Do Before Your Home is Appraised.
Friday, May 30, 2014
After the mortgage bubble burst and home values across the nation plummeted, having your home appraised is nerve-wracking to say the least, even with the market in recovery. Low appraisals for sellers and refinancers are a nightmare, and for many homeowners, discovering their home has depreciated comes as the worst kind of surprise.
Luckily, there are several things you can do to maximize your home's value when being appraised. It takes a little planning, but it can (and should) be done before an appraiser ever steps inside your home.
1. Provide documentation of your property and any improvements on it to the appraiser
Homeowners are permitted and encouraged to accompany appraisers during inspections, and to give any pertinent information that would help in the assessment of value, especially if it is directly related to the value of the home.
Two important pieces of information that you can provide to an appraiser are a survey of your property that shows its boundaries, and a list of improvements you've made to your home and property, along with the cost of those improvements. Remember that cost and value are not directly correlated, so a $1000 renovation might not equal a $1000 increase in value, but providing that information will be helpful for the appraiser when assessing your home's value in comparison to the value of the surrounding property.
2. Filter your appraiser options.
While you can't specifically choose an appraiser, there are certain requests you can make when planning an appraisal. To start, call your mortgage lender and ask for an appraiser with familiarity and direct experience in the market and geographic location of your home's location. Other factors to consider are organizations the appraiser is a member of, what credentials she holds, and how long she's been practicing.
3. Review your appraisal.
After the appraisal is complete, you can obtain a free copy of your home's appraisal from the lender. The appraisal is available to you up to three days before your loan's closing. When you receive the appraisal, examine it closely and verify that all figures were reported correctly, such as number of rooms, square footage, and so forth. It is your right and responsibility to make sure all information is accurate. If you find any discrepancies, report them to the lender, not the appraiser.
4. Contact an appraiser before renovating.
If you're planning to put your home on the market, but want to make a few renovations first, call an appraiser and discuss your plans. An appraiser can conduct a feasibility study and provide feedback on whether or not the renovations will be worth the investment. Sometimes the improvements you think will have a large impact on your home's value actually have very little, so it's best to talk to an expert before putting any money in.
5. Make your property presentable.
Even details as small as curb appeal and general tidiness can make an impact on the value of your home. Before the appraiser arrives, mow the lawn, sharpen up your landscaping, fix any minor cosmetic blemishes to your home, such as peeling paint, exhausted carpet, broken light fixtures, malfunctioning appliances, etc. These small but important details could add or subtract value to your appraisal.
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