Home appraisers take into account many factors when determining the worth of a home. While some of these, such as location, can't be helped, there are things a homeowner can do to ensure that the home is appraised for maximum value. Let's take a look at four appraisal tips to help you get a higher home appraisal.
1. Provide an information file for the home appraiser
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A professional appraiser doesn't spend a long time in and out of the home, sometimes just 30 minutes or less. Experienced residential appraisers have viewed hundreds or thousands of homes so they'll have a good idea of comparable properties to yours. However, it's helpful to provide a convenient file with information in the event that they missed something.
If you've completed an improvement project or performed upgrades to your home, make sure you've kept receipts, before and after photos and any contractor info to include in your file. This proves to the appraiser the upgrades were done and how much you've spent to do so.
Have a detailed breakdown of your home's features including square footage, bedrooms, bathrooms, lot size, etc. and include this in your file.
Make sure you know the comps of similar homes in your area as well or better than the appraiser. If you're working with an experienced real estate agent, they should have this information already and have provided it to the appraiser before hand. If not, you can include this in your file to give the home appraiser.
2. Make any small repairs you can
The "Effective Age" of a home is something assigned to a home by an appraiser and is largely based on the condition of the home and how well it's been maintained. This age designation could be older or younger than the actual age of the home. So, it's important that you make sure to service all the major systems in the home and that the home looks well-maintained and functional.
You should also make sure to complete any repairs on the home that you can. You don't need to perform a complete renovation of your home - no one will be expected to do that - but replacing cracked windows, painting chipped molding or repairing broken brickwork are all things that can be repaired to improve the appearance of the home and help improve the "Effective Age" the appraiser assigns your home.
3. Spruce up your home inside and outside
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Some appraisers will say It doesn't matter if your home is clean or dirty, it has no effect on its value. However, a clean and well organized home can add to the appearance of a functional and well-maintained home. While you can't change the floor plan of your home, you can rearrange items in each room to highlight a more open, livable space and make a few small adjustments to make the home look a little classier. A professional cleaning assures you'll get things in tip-top shape, but if that's not in the budget, a thorough cleaning done yourself is the next best thing. Before the appraiser arrives, turn on lights and open blinds to highlight the features of your house and make things more appealing.
Additionally, the way the outside of the home looks can affect its curb appeal. Take some time to address the exterior. Make sure your lawn has been mowed and trimmed. Weed and mulch any flower beds. Trim trees and bushes. Clean the windows and outdoor lighting. Stage any outdoor furniture by cleaning and adding cushions and plants. Additional things to consider would be the condition of your fence - make sure any necessary repairs are done before the appraisal as well.
4. Be nice and stay out of the way
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Be polite when you meet your appraiser and let them know you have some information to share before they begin and go over the contents of your file. Avoid offering any suggestions of what should garner a higher valuation - just provide an overview of the facts of your file and that's that. Stay out of the way while they're completing the appraisal and don't hover. Once they're done, ask them if they have any questions or concerns, offer your feedback if asked but thank them for their time.
The Bottom Line
It may seem like homebuyers and sellers don't agree on much, but they share one important concern: that their real estate transaction is successful. This camaraderie is never more apparent than during the home appraisal process. This is only natural, since the results of the appraisal can sink a deal as quickly as it begins. With real estate's current competitive market, it's key to ensure you make each element of the transaction as seamless as possible.
And while some things impact a home's value more than others, the bottom line is that the process can vary by appraiser. Anything you can do in the four areas listed above has the potential to streamline the appraisal process and increase the value of your home with the most accurate appraisal possible. Plus, going through these steps prior to listing your home will only help increase the number of potential buyers. And ultimately, selling your home is what it's all about.
If you'd like to get started learning the value of your home, try our home valuation tool HERE. Afterwards, GET IN TOUCH for a free home evaluation from Charleston's Best Home Team to get a more accurate number of what your home might list for.
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