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If you are planning to sell your home or are seeking a better rate on your mortgage through a refinance, the property will first need to be appraised.
It’s normal the be a bit apprehensive about the appraisal process; everyone wants their home’s value to increase from the time it was purchased. In this article, we have compiled some important information about the appraisal process along with seven helpful tips for preparing your residence in order to get the highest possible assessment.
What does a home appraisal involve?
A home appraisal is an estimation of the value of your real estate property. The process is performed by a licensed appraiser who visits the property and assesses its current value based on its condition, appeal, and surroundings. Appraisers are typically hired by banks and mortgage lenders. Their assessment can have a tremendous effect on your home’s sales price and is one of the primary determinants of refinancing loans. While the value the appraiser gives your home largely depends on the recent sales prices of comparable properties, there are steps you can take to come in at the high end of its potential appraisal value. We’ve outlined seven important ones below:
- Tidy up the inside.
A clean home is an important part of a good first impression and demonstrates pride in ownership. Take time to clean the floors, windows, and baseboards of each room. Organize items in the cabinets, pantry, and closets. Remove as much clutter as you can from countertops and throughout in each room. Going carefully through your home also provides an opportunity to find any possible problems that might otherwise go unnoticed, such as a small leak under the kitchen cabinet or a faulty electrical outlet.
- Be courteous and accommodating.
Appraisers are professionals with busy schedules and many deadlines to meet, so do what you can to make their job easier. Answer the appraiser’s calls and return their messages promptly. Try to meet the appraiser on the first suggested date if possible. Make sure they have access to all parts of your residence, including the attic, basement, and crawl spaces.
- Make any repairs you’ve been postponing.
Some considerations for an appraisal, such as the square footage and location, aren’t negotiable but you can always make the most of your home’s features. Make sure that all the major systems have been serviced and that everything is functional. Walk through your home with a critical eye and tackle any minor fixes, such as that loose tile in the kitchen or chipped paint in the hallway.
- Consider the curb appeal.
You might not pay much attention to your home’s exterior, but curb appeal matters to potential buyers and it matters to appraisers too. The Appraisal Institute notes that properly maintained landscaping can significantly enhance a home’s value. Aside from mowing the lawn, remove any downed twigs or branches and trim the hedges. Consider these additional landscaping fixes:
- Strategically place attractive container gardens
- Mulch the flower beds
- Change outdoor light bulbs and wipe down the fixtures
- Stage patios or porches with attractive seating and pillows
- Note recent improvements and upgrades.
Any time you spend money on your home, save the receipts and keep them in a file or digitize them and store them on your computer. Upgrades like a new roof, HVAC system, upgraded flooring, and bathroom and kitchen remodels can have a significant impact on your appraisal. It’s also a good idea to take before-and-after photographs of any improvements made. This allows you to easily demonstrate what you did to enhance your home and how much you spent on those efforts.
- Get to know the comps in your area.
One of the best ways to determine the value of your home is to compare it with similar homes in the vicinity that have recently sold. By being well-informed about the comps, it allows you to challenge a lowball appraisal. Trulia and Redfin, for example, have quick property search features that make it easy to find the selling prices of recent residential sales transactions.
- Get the appraisal sooner rather than later.
Before you list your house for sale, you will first need to know its true value. You will also want to know about any potential issues that need to be fixed so you can tackle them in advance. Getting the appraisal completed early on lets you focus on preparing for potential buyers while delaying the appraisal until after you have an offer could present issues. What if your property is valued at less than you hoped? What if a major repair is required before closing on the sale? Issues like these can be avoided by scheduling the appraisal as soon as possible.
Following the pointers listed above will ensure that you get the highest possible valuation on your property. Do you have questions or would you like more information? The helpful professionals at Certified Title are here with the valuable tools and answers you need. Please contact our experienced team today.
About Certified Title Corporation: Since 1994, attorney-owned Certified Title Corporation has been furnishing residential and commercial real estate stakeholders across the nation with robust title insurance, settlement, and escrow services. Renowned for industry-leading reliability and an exemplary level of service and quality, the Maryland-based company helps clients from all walks of life achieve their asset goals. To learn more, call (888)486-5511 or visit https://www.certifiedtitlecorp.com/.