Five things you must do after getting your appraisal
Whether getting an appraisal for a refinance, equity loan, home purchase, or to set a list price there are five things you must do after getting your appraisal. The things I will be discussing today will help you to save time and money in one way or another by using the information in a typical home appraisal, so lets get started.
Check square footage
Verifying the square footage shown on the appraisal with what the county property appraiser shows is one of the easiest ways to begin saving money. One of the main items that the county appraiser looks at when assessing your home is its gross living area, however in my 25 years of experience this is an area that is often incorrect. It is critical that if your appraisal shows less square footage than the tax assessor you must request a change be made to correct it so your property taxes can be lowered.
The most accurate tax assessment information are for homes that are built on a crawlspace or slab and are only one level. I have seen the most errors with square footage on homes that either have basements or have more than one story. If you are interested in finding ways to lower your property taxes but do not need a full appraisal you can have your home measured to get accurate square footage to compare it to what the county assessor has. This is less expensive but will give you the information you need if you feel the county information is wrong.
Compare the value
If you took my advice to check the living area in your home, and it looks like it is correct, then the next thing to look for is how the assessed value compares with the value in your appraisal. County tax assessors use different valuation techniques than fee appraisers do and this could be to your detriment if you live in certain areas. It is not realistic that a county tax assessor visit the interior of every house in the county, but this can lead to inaccurate assessments because they do not know the specifics of your home.
Neighborhoods that have homes that are highly similar have the best chance for having assessments that are the most accurate. If you live in a neighborhood that has many different types of homes the chances of the assessment not matching the true market value of a home are increased. For example, there are some neighborhoods that have homes ranging from one story slab homes to multi-level homes with finished basements. If your home is one of the smaller ones within the neighborhood there is a good chance that it may be overvalued because the assessor also included some of the larger homes in the assessment of yours.
If you find that the county has your home assessed at a higher amount than your appraisal then you can challenge the assessment. There are certain steps you must take to do this, and it usually must be done at a certain time of the year, so you should find out the procedure your county follows.
Check the land area
I’m including this step because I experienced this situation recently. I had a reader of my blog call me to get my opinion on why their house didn’t appraise any higher than it did. While I didn’t get a chance to look over the report I did tell them of the typical areas of a report where there can be errors. Inaccuracies in land size is an area to check for. In this particular situation the person owned two parcels of land that were assessed separately. The appraiser was not aware that the adjacent parcel was supposed to be included in the appraisal so it was left out, and the appraisal came in lower than what it would have if the additional land would have been included.
Use the sketch
Over the past couple of years sellers have gotten smarter and more savvy when it comes to selling their home. They realize that it is extremely important to use every resource they can because of the competitive nature of the real estate market. One piece of information included in a listing can make the difference between a buyer choosing to look at your home over another one.
Within a pre-listing appraisal there are numerous items than can be used to market your home more effectively. In addition to a floor plan sketch providing accurate square footage, it can also provide a visual image of the layout of your home. Potential buyers are better able to visualize how they will live in your home and where their furniture could be placed. Don’t you think that this might increase their emotional investment in your home and help move them along in the buying process? Ask your agent to utilize the sketch in their photo exhibits so that potential buyers are better able to visualize this home as being their own.
Change your price
Real estate is such an emotional thing and pricing your home can be dicey unless you price it to reflect your local market. If you have a number in your mind that you want to get out of your house that does not line up with the market then your chances of selling your home in the shortest amount of time for the highest amount will be decreased. There are also some real estate agents that will go along with your list price suggestion just to get your listing. They are not doing you any favor if they do this because your home will sit on the market and not sell.
The best thing for you to do is to price your home using the value the appraiser arrived at in the appraisal. This value will reflect what recent buyers paid for similar homes and will also take into consideration what other homes, that will be competing with yours, are currently listed at. It does not make sense to list your home for an amount higher than what other similar homes are currently listed at. Buyers will look at your home, compare them to other similar homes they could buy, and pass on yours because it is listed higher.
I have had the opportunity to provide pre-listing appraisal services to home sellers over the years but I have seen where they have not used the appraisal to their advantage. They listed their home higher than the opinion of value I arrived at because they felt like they could get more. One particular seller has had their home on the market for over a year and it is still listed higher than the appraisal. It is important that if you make the investment in an appraisal then you should utilize it in pricing your home.
I hope you find these five actionable suggestions to be helpful in saving yourself time and/or money. Can you think of anything I left out, or do you have a question? If so, leave a comment below and I’ll be glad to get back with you. Thanks again for reading.