When I call a homeowner to set up the appointment to do an appraisal on their home the most common question I get is “What do I need to do before you get here?”. Today I thought I would share with you what I tell them so that it might help you the next time you get an appraisal.
Have a list of recent repairs or renovations- If you have made any repairs or renovations to your home in the past 15 years it’s a good idea to make the appraiser aware of exactly what was done. Examples of repairs and renovations include the following: roof replacement, heating and cooling replacement, new siding, flooring replacement, kitchen renovation, bath renovation, build out of basement or second story attic room, etc. Repairs and renovations reduce the subjects “effective age”, meaning that if the actual age of the house is 25 years, the home might appear to be 15 years old, which could help it appraise for a higher amount. It also adds livable space and value to your home.
Provide access to all areas of the house- The appraiser must have access to all areas of of the home including all rooms, basement, attics, and closets. If there is anything that is stacked up against doors that would prevent the appraiser from opening them it must be removed so that the appraiser can get into them. Appraisers must observe all areas to make sure every feature of the home is included and all finished area is included.
Provide a copy of the survey- A copy of a survey, while not necessary, can be helpful if your lot is irregular shaped or is larger than typical. This type of information is typically available online with the local county assessor, however if you have bought any adjacent property to increase the size of your site and have a survey, you may want to provide this to the appraiser to make sure they consider all of the property. Make the appraiser aware of how much land you have so they will know.
Make repairs on maintenance type items- Be sure to make repairs on maintenance items such as leaky faucets, missing electrical cover plates, missing light fixtures, and/or missing doors. While these types of repair items don’t always translate into large deductions in value they can give the impression that the home is in worse condition than it actually is. Don’t leave anything to chance, make the repairs before the appraiser looks at the house. If the appraisal is for an FHA loan some of these repairs may be necessary before the loan closes.
Recent sales- Are you aware of any recent sales that have occurred in your neighborhood that you believe are similar to your home? Appraisers have access to most sales information, however private sales do occur and they may be more difficult to find unless you know the address or owner, which you can provide to them. I am always open to any sales a homeowner can provide, however that does not mean I can use them. The sale has to meet certain criteria such as time of sale and comparability to the subject among other things. A sale is not always a comparable and the appraiser will make the final determination.
This is a list of some of the most important things you can do to get ready for the appraisal inspection. If you have questions about anything else please leave a comment below, I would be glad to answer them for you.