So, you want to sell your home or refinance? Then you probably need to have an appraisal. You know how great your home is, but your appraiser needs to know it too, so you get the best possible value. A licensed professional appraisal is generally necessary if you want to refinance so the lender knows the house is worth what they think. It also is a good idea to spring for an appraisal when you sell your home, so you really know how much to sell it for.
There is no need to stress out when you are going to have your home appraised. But if you prepare for your appraisal beforehand, you will probably get a better price. Here are some tips to keep in mind when you are going to have your house appraised:
Tell Appraiser About Improvements
When your appraiser first comes to your home, you should sit down with him for a few minutes and tell him about any improvements you have made on the property. It can be helpful to give him a written list. Mention any rooms that have been renovated, windows replaced, AC system upgraded, new roof or bathroom, etc. All of these items are very important for increasing the value of your home.
Many home experts say the best renovations in terms of adding value are new windows, and an upgraded kitchen and bathroom. Keep this in mind if you are thinking about doing upgrades before your appraisal.
Update Easy to Replace Materials
There are many easy to upgrade things in the home that you can do yourself or with minimal help that can increase the value. Upgrade old countertops, paint walls and cupboards and replace carpet or flooring. Upgrading flooring can be surprisingly inexpensive. Also consider replacing the front door; this is an easy upgrade that is easy to do and adds value.
Of course, tell your appraiser about any of these simple upgrades you made.
Keep the $500 Rule in Mind
Things in the home that need to be updated or corrected, such as broken tile or doors, old wallpaper or an outdate bathtub, usually will take $500 off the value of the home for each item. Generally, you can assume that every negative the appraiser sees will take off $500. If he sees a lot of these items, you can lose thousands in home value. You should try to fix any problems immediately that would cost you less than $500 to repair.
Look at Your Yard
First impressions do really matter, especially on the front of the home. Keep the grass mowed, remove any dead tree limbs and shrubs, and remove all clutter from the front and back yard. Also, weed flowerbeds and add mulch where you need it. Houses that have higher curb appeal always get a higher appraisal.
Tell your appraiser about any upgrades you made to the lawn and landscaping, such as trees and flowers and shrubs.
Research Other Homes Around You
Take a look at homes that sold recently in your area. What were some of the problems that may have been encountered during their appraisal? Many of these things are in the public record, but you can also talk to your neighbors. They could help you to figure out some home improvements that you should consider getting a better appraisal. Remember that many homes in the same neighborhood were built at the same time by the same builder, so they could have common features and problems.
Completely clean the home from top to bottom before the appraiser arrives. Wash down walls and doors, shampoo carpets, clear clutter, power-wash the driveway and deck, and the exterior of the house if you can. A clean home will always look newer and more attractive to potential buyers and the appraiser.
Nothing is better than a new coat of paint on a tired, old looking room, and it does not cost much. Install new doorknobs and faucets – these are also inexpensive upgrades that can make a big difference. Outdated décor can really have a negative effect on your appraisal and upgrading them will not cost you much at all.
Check Safety Equipment
All smoke and carbon monoxide alarms should be fully functioning.
The bottom line on an appraisal is there are many things you can do to increase the value of your home without spending a bundle. But any major upgrades you have made should be pointed out immediately to your home appraiser. Communicate everything that you have updated on the home as soon as the appraiser arrives, so he keeps that in mind throughout the entire appraisal process.