Are you looking for ways to get ready for your home appraisal? Whether you want to put your home on the market or are planning to refinance your mortgage, it’s crucial to hire an appraisal service. While many people understand this, the majority are unsure of how they should go about preparing for a real estate appraisal. Understanding how to prepare for an appraisal means you first need to know what the appraisers are looking at.
A home appraisal can be quite stressful, and this is totally understandable. After all, the appraiser’s assessment is the one that determines the amount of money you can get for it. Low appraisals tend to translate to lower home values and therefore selling prices. This is not ideal because you want your home to be valued as high as possible. Fortunately, there are ways to ensure that you don’t get a low appraisal.
What Is a Home Appraisal?
Before digging deep into how you can prepare for an appraisal, it’s crucial to first understand what an appraisal really is. An appraisal is a professional assessment that determines the value of your home. This is an important step before buying a home, selling one, or refinancing a mortgage.
An appraisal should be conducted by a licensed professional. This means that whatever opinion you get from an appraiser is unbiased since they have no benefits from the outcome. The appraiser only gets paid for doing their job, and they don’t stand to lose or gain anything by providing an estimated value of your home.
The entire process can last for about 30 minutes, during which the appraiser measures the dimensions of your home and examines its amenities. They also evaluate the general condition of the home, and they take photos in the process. They will also look at trends in properties similar to yours that have been sold recently. Based on the condition of your home and historical sales records, they will provide an estimate of how much your home can be sold for. This information can then be used by banks along with other details to determine how much to lend you.
What Does an Appraiser Look For?
There are certain things that an appraiser looks for when they examine a house. This means that you can make some changes to your home to help it come in at the high end of its appraisal value. Getting your property appraised is all about first impressions. While you have no idea what the appraiser will like or evaluate, it’s crucial to ensure that your home is well-groomed. This will improve the chances of it getting a higher estimated value.
You must ensure that your property is generally neat and clean. This also makes it quite easy to inspect. So, before the appraiser arrives, you must contain all pets and do away with any smells. It will not work to your advantage if the appraiser is in a hurry to leave.
While it doesn’t really matter if the house is dirty and cluttered, these things can make it seem older, and they can increase the appearance of wear and tear beyond what’s there. This will definitely affect the value of your home. The following are areas that an appraiser will definitely check out:
- Exterior and interior conditions
- Number of rooms
- Functionality, including the layout of the rooms
- The state of areas like the roof and home’s HVAC system, electrical, and plumbing.
- Exterior amenities like garages, pools, decks, and porches.
To prepare your home for an appraisal, you can use the tips below.
Make Sure Your Home is Clean, Neat, and Tidy
Appraisals, like any other inspection, are affected by first impressions. So, while making sure your home is clean and tidy will not stop the appraiser from identifying major issues, you will still get some points for dressing to impress. When you take the time to organize your home and clean it thoroughly, it will give the appraiser the impression that you take good care of it. They will also be less prone to digging too deep into smaller observations. In fact, they might even be a little motivated to focus on the best aspects of your property.
At the end of the day, you must understand that the appraiser is human. This means that, like the rest of us, they will be impressed by a spotless, well-cared-for home. You must also keep in mind that one of the areas your appraiser will report on is condition.
Another advantage of making sure your home is neat and tidy is that you will get to see some of the issues that the appraiser might notice before they even do the assessment. For instance, as you are cleaning, you can come actress damp areas in the basement with some mold on them. This will give you a chance to get this fixed before the appraiser notices and takes note of it in their report.
Apart from ensuring that the indoors are neat and tidy, you must also take time to prepare your yard. Your yard and landscaping are equally important when it comes to making good first impressions. You don’t have to go out of your way to purchase a luxurious lawn and hire the best landscaping company in your area. This will be a good thing to do, but you can still get away with cutting the grass and tidying things up. This is a good way to put your best foot forward and eliminate unpleasant distractions.
Just like cleaning up the interior, as you are tidying up the exterior, you may also end up noticing some problems that can be fixed quickly before the appraiser’s report. Therefore, as you are doing your yard cleaning, look out for any defects on your property and get them fixed as soon as you can. For instance, you don’t want to leave small issues like rotting boards, leaves hanging out of the gutters, and other similar imperfections. Try to look at things like the appraiser and think of areas that you can improve on for them to be impressed.
Roof Repairs and Maintenance
The roof is one of the most expensive components of your home; therefore, you can be guaranteed that the appraiser will take a good look at its condition. It therefore makes a lot of sense to ensure that you hire a roofer to take care of all roofing issues before your home is appraised. You can start with a simple cleaning to ensure that the roof looks spiffy from all angles. The roof makes a huge part of your home’s first impression. Therefore, it will be one of the focus areas during your assessment. If your roof is old, and you are worried that it might affect the value of your home, this would be a great time to look for roofing companies to do some work on it.
Apart from washing the roof, you must also remove needles from the gutters. Do a thorough cleaning of the gutters and remove leaves from the roof as well. If the dirt is too much for you to handle, this would be a good time to find residential roofing contractors to do the job for you. You must also remember that cleaning requires you to climb on top of the roof, and if you are not sure you are up to the task, you should stay away from such areas. You can end up damaging shingles, or worse; you can get seriously injured.
The gutters on your roof are probably its most visible parts. Anyone who inspects your roof will notice the condition of the gutters. It therefore makes sense to hire a roofing company and do away with old, sagging, or crooked gutters as these can give a very poor impression. Fortunately, when it comes to gutters, there’s a lot you can do to spruce up their appearance. For instance, you can paint them or do some repairs on them. It would be a good idea to upgrade and install copper gutters with better designs. This will make your roof appear younger, and it also improves its functionality.
Apart from gutters, people will also quickly see the edges of your roof and your eaves. It’s a good idea to make these edges vanish. You should also inspect and identify problematic shingles. Apart from that, your eaves must be repaired so that the roof looks young and fresh. Lastly, if your flashing is crooked or rusting, you must get replacements as well.
Nothing will make your home look ancient, like faded or wrong shingle colors. If your shingles are showing signs of aging, you should think about carrying out a more extensive repair project. Find a good shingle shade that will make your home stand out and look new. This will make your entire property look organized and well taken care of. Another good idea would be to paint shingles. Fortunately, they don’t require a lot of preparation, so it should be a fast one. All you need is a coat of paint to improve how your roof looks.
Address Your Home’s Functionality Issues
When preparing your home for an appraisal, you must make sure that it’s marketable as possible so you can get the highest estimate possible. While minor fixes and taking care of aesthetics will go a long way, you must also focus on the performance of key systems in your home. For instance, you need to hire an HVAC company to ensure that your HVAC performs adequately. You don’t want the appraiser to uncover costly electrical, plumbing, or heating and cooling issues during their assessment.
It’s important to understand that things like the condition of your HVAC can affect the value of your home. The type of AC you have will also affect your home’s appraisal. Research shows that homes with central air are valued higher than those that require room by room AC units. On the other hand, an outdated and faulty system will definitely lower the value of your home.
To improve the value of your home, you must hire different professionals like the electrician, plumber, and HVAC contractors to evaluate the performance of your electrical wiring, plumbing, and the performance of your AC unit, respectively. For instance, before the appraiser comes, you will need to find out if the AC can still adjust the climate quickly. You should also get it inspected to ensure that there are no leaks, tears in the ductwork, other HVAC tools, or other smaller repairs that might affect the HVAC’s performance.
To avoid problems with your major systems, you must invest in maintenance. Nowadays, buyers are clever, and therefore appraisers have also become more strict. People now understand that the value of a home and its cost are more than just its purchase price. Some appraisers will ask for information like maintenance records, transferable warranty details, and utility costs. This means you must keep these details close by. By showing the appraiser that you have dependable and well-maintained systems, you will likely get a higher appraisal value.
If your HVAC system is too old, this would be the time to install a new one. This is especially true if your unit is more than ten years old. You may not want to make such a purchase, but you must remember that once installed, it will likely significantly improve the appraisal value.
Are you trying to prepare your home for appraisal? Making sure that everything is functional and that your home is neat and tidy will improve how the appraiser sees it. You must, therefore, take your time to ensure that every area of your house is as it should be. If not, you must make all the necessary fixes. There are a lot of professionals who can help you to make your home more valuable. You should keep in mind that even if it might be expensive to hire these professionals if you manage to increase the value of your property, you will get your money back.