Whether you’re selling your house or pursuing refinancing, you’ll need to have your home appraised by a professional. This is the standard way of determining a property’s value.
Appraisals are incredibly important. Banks honor the appraiser’s valuation during the mortgage application process, and buyers can back out of deals if the selling price is higher than the home’s determined value.
Professional home appraisers consider things like the square footage of a home, its location, and its age when making their valuation.
Appraisers strive to remain unbiased during the appraisal process, but a smart homeowner knows they can still influence the decision. Read on to learn how you can improve your home appraisal value.
Curb Appeal Makes a Difference
You only get one chance to leave a first impression, so your home’s curb appeal can go a long way toward influencing your home’s appraisal valuation.
You want your home to look as good as possible. Apply a fresh coat of paint to your home’s exterior and fix any issues you may have with your siding, your roof, and any porches or walkways.
Don’t forget about shutters and windows either. Make sure they’re in good condition and present well.
Additionally, you’ll want to keep your front yard neat and tidy. Cut the grass and trim any overgrown bushes or trees.
Curb appeal is all about making your home look inviting and well-kept. Whether you’re selling a home with a traditional listing or using a service like ibuyil.com, inviting homes always receive higher offers from buyers and higher valuations from appraisers.
Keep the Inside of the Home Clean
No matter how lovely you make the outside of your home, a messy house is always uninviting. Many appraisers have horror stories about walking into a house in a state of disarray. Those homes did not receive favorable valuations.
Keeping your home tidy is as easy as keeping up with your regular chores. Clean your kitchen and bathroom, don’t let dirty dishes sit in the sink, and dust and vacuum throughout your home.
Patch Cosmetic Damages
All homes develop minor wear and tear over the years, and correcting this helps increase your property’s appraisal value.
Make sure your baseboard and trim are in good condition. You may need to repaint them and apply a wood filler. Similarly, damaged drywall can be spackled and repainted.
You’ll also want to take a long look at your flooring. If your carpets aren’t clean, a quick steam cleaning can breathe some life into them. Investing in a refinishing kit is a good idea if you have wood floors.
Present a List of Upgrades You’ve Made
Document every remodeling project you’ve performed and show that to the appraiser. Many of these projects add considerable value to a home.
A remodeled kitchen with upgraded appliances is much more desirable than a shabby, outdated kitchen.
However, don’t go overboard when it comes to remodeling, and don’t expect to recoup the money you’ve invested in these projects. You should never take on expensive renovations with the intent of making that money back.
The document you present to the appraiser should list the changes you made, the date you made, and how much you spent on them. Having it in writing is important because it legitimizes your hard work, impresses potential buyers, and provides a detailed and easy-to-reference look at the work you’ve done.
Speak Highly of Your Neighborhood
Appraisers are knowledgeable individuals and can easily research things like the quality of the local school system, but they can’t possibly know everything about a particular area.
Talk about an exciting new restaurant and mention your property’s proximity to local parks or public transportation options.
Location is one of the biggest factors affecting your home’s appraisal value, and highlighting your neighborhood’s best features can influence an appraiser’s valuation.
Research Comparable Homes
While it may not directly increase your home’s value, being aware of what similar homes in the area have sold for help set your expectations. You shouldn’t expect your home to be worth more than similar homes.
You should mention these comparables to your appraiser, as they might have missed them in their research. If your appraisal comes in lower than you expected based on the sale of comparable properties, you should ask them to explain their reasoning.
Let the Appraiser Do Their Job
Appraisers are professionals and need to be allowed to do their jobs. Don’t follow the appraiser around your home. At best it’ll be an annoyance, and, at worst, it’ll make you look like you have something to hide.
However, you should be ready to answer any questions the appraiser has for you. Always answer honestly and to the best of your knowledge. Appraisers aren’t trying to take advantage of you; they simply want to offer you a fair evaluation.
Have Your Real Estate Agent Come to the Appraisal
Some will find it beneficial to have their real estate agent present at the appraisal. They have an intimate knowledge of the market and can quickly offer comparables. They can explain extenuating circumstances around local sales and make a case for your property’s value.
At the very least, your realtor will be able to talk to the appraiser on your behalf. If you’re worried about misspeaking or need to attend to your children while the appraiser is in your home, let your agent handle the talking. Agents know how to conduct themselves during these kinds of situations.
Get the Best Home Appraisal Value
The home appraisal process is a necessary step in selling a home or obtaining refinancing. While appraisers will always do their best to remain objective, you can still influence their valuation in subtle ways.
Keeping your home tidy, patching up minor blemishes, and focusing on curb appeal are just a few ways to get a higher home appraisal value. However, don’t invest large sums of money in renovations hoping to make it back on the valuation.
If you found this article helpful, check out our blog for more real estate advice.