I don't re-blog too very often. This article however is full of great advice in light of the changes within the appraisal system. Thank you Phyliss Lerner for preparing this timely and informative list for home owners.
If you're selling your home, you know that a home appraisal is a necessary step in the process. An appraisal is not to be confused with your seller's agent giving you a comparative market analysis (CMA) which helps you to establish a realistic asking price for your property for sale.
A property appraisal is ordered by the buyer's lender to establish the value of your home in regards to the prevailing market situation and is conducted by a certified appraiser hired by the lender. Your buyer may be unable to get a mortgage if the appraisal comes in lower than the agreed upon purchase price. In such a case you'll either have to make further price consessions or the buyer may just walk away from the deal. It is therefore in your very best interest to make sure that your home looks it's very best when the bank's appraiser knocks on your door.
Here are 11 ways to prepare for a home appraisal:
1. The appraiser will need approximately one to two hours to complete the inspection phase of the appraisal process, which includes: exterior photos of the home and a photo of the street in front of the property, measurements of the exterior of the home, garage and any outbuildings, a walk-through inspection of all rooms and levels of the interior of the home, including the basement, and creating a list of recent improvements and add ons.
2. Get organized. Put together a checklist that will help you get ready for your appraisal. Your seller's agent can help you here to make sure you do not overlook something important.
3. Be flexible when scheduling the appointment with the appraiser. You want to avoid a drive by appraisal which will never be in your favor. You want the appraiser to see all features of your home, especially interior upgrades and anything worthwhile that is not easily apparent from the outside.
4. Have a copy of your property survey and your home's blueprint available to help verify measurements and lot size.
5. Provide a complete list of improvements made to the property since the purchase. Improvements that should be noted include adding a pool, patio, garage, updating your kitchen or bathrooms, and any room additions, new roof, new windows, new heating system or central A/C, and such.
6. Allow the appraiser access to the entire property, including access to any crawl space or attic areas. Make sure all of your major appliances are in working order and that the major ssytems in your home such as the heating and cooling systems have recent inspection stickers.
7. Keep in mind that a clean uncluttered home makes a good impression. Be sure to trim the lawn, clean the pool and garage, repair cracked windows or torn screens, check for leaky faucets and secure gutters and down spouts before your appraisal... and clean, clean, clean and clean... especially the bathrooms and kitchen.
8. Point out any amenities that may not be obvious to the appraiser: sprinkler systems, patio and/or pool lighting, security systems, outdoor speaker sytems, whole house speaker systems and monitors, built-in pool vacuum, whole house fan, whole house vacuum, heated bathroom floors, green certification, heatpump, new septic, plumbing, electrical, etc.
9. Provide a copy of last year's tax assessment information. Making it easy on the appraiser goes a long way at times.
10. Know what year the house was built, when improvements were made or additions were built, and how much you paid for such. Inform the appraiser of any warranties that are still in effect on the appliances, major components and infrastructure of your home.
11. The first thing appraisers look for is comparables, so be prepared and supply a list of recent sales of similar properties in the immediate neighborhood. Your seller's agent can assist you with this important list. Many bank sent appraisers do not know the area to well and may make errors when pulling comparables on their own.
Following these steps will go a long way toward making the home appraisal process a bit easier. For more information on home appraisals and preparing your home for sale, please contact me and please feel free to forward these tips to any family and friends with a home sale in their future.
Phyllis Lerner, Realtor
Broker / Owner