Sellers do all they can to get the highest offer possible, and these tips for navigating the home appraisal will help get yours to the closing table.
If there’s one thing that causes sleepless nights for both buyers and sellers, it’s waiting to hear back from the appraiser.
True, strategies like prepping your home for sale, expert home staging, professional photos, and savvy negotiation can help get you the best possible offer. But if the home appraisal comes in below the offer price, both seller and buyer will have some tough decisions to make.
Let’s see how to boost the odds that your appraisal will be a success.
WHAT IS A HOME APPRAISAL?
It’s an independent review of a home’s value, conducted by a certified and licensed professional with no affiliation to you or the buyer. In a home sale, the appraiser is selected and hired by the mortgage company, (the actual fee is paid for by the buyer).
The appraiser will visit your home, taking photos and measurements and detailed notes.
They’ll compare what they know about your home to comparable ones sold recently in your immediate market. The result: they decide how much your home is worth.
The mortgage company will use this information to help determine the size loan they’re willing to provide. (It can also be used during refinancing, tax assessments, or enhancing equity.)
TIPS FOR NAVIGATING THE APPRAISAL
Obviously, unless your buyer is ready to pay cash for any part of the purchase price that’s more than the appraised value—and some buyers are—this is a critical number!
It’s in your best interest to do what you can to ensure your home looks like it’s truly worth its full potential value. Fortunately, these same steps will also help you pull in a good offer.
Get input from your Real Estate Agent
Agents have been through this process over, and over, and over again. When you get a list of recommended updates before you list, smart real estate agents are thinking about comparable home prices and appraisals, not just offer prices. So, take their input seriously! They know what’s been known to knock down values for other homes and can help shore up yours.
Take care of any exterior repairs
Exteriors take a beating, and they’re your home’s first line of defense against damage and deterioration. This is one reason that appraisers give the outside of your home a close look. So, check for anything that suggests poor maintenance. Damaged roof shingles? Missing (or melted) siding? Holes in caulked edges? Contact a pro to make crucial repairs, so you avoid getting downgrades on your appraisal report.
Freshen up your Curb Appeal
Appraisers like to get a great first impression, too: it communicates homeowners’ care, which primes positive expectations for home maintenance overall. Before appraisal day, check off these simple improvements:
- Grass & Yard Clean Up: mow the lawn, pull up major weeds. Trim hedges. And definitely remove any dead wood, trash and/or debris from the yard.
- Planters: strategically positioned, healthy, potted plants and/or flower boxes add a cared-for touch at very low cost.
- Make it sparkle: Clean the windows. Bring in a pressure washing pro to remove dirt and grime from walkways. (If you do your own, be conservative as you increase pressure so you don’t create gouges and dislodge paint—or worse!)
Tidy-up the Interiors
Although, cleanliness doesn’t directly affect the value of your home, it’s still a key step in giving the impression that you’re on top of regular care. The reality is, an appraiser is likely to take less time assessing a clean home compared to a messy one. And if they can’t see or access an area, they’re more likely to assume the worst, not the best of what’s hidden. Streamline the appraiser’s lines of sight by removing clutter, dirt, or mess.
Prepare for the Appraisal
Let the appraiser do his or her job—don’t shadow behind. But do be ready for questions, avoiding unnecessary chit-chat. They may want access to any survey reports, receipts of improvements, records of past sales, so have your home docs ready.
What happens if the final report comes in low, putting the value below a ‘normal range’? You may be able to contest it by appealing to the appraisal company.
So, whether you need to make a few repairs, swap out broken knobs, or clean your carpets, it’s better to tackle these details before the appraiser gets involved—it’s tough to go backwards! We have the experience and the passion to help you with finding your dream home, navigating the appraisal and everything in between. Contact us today to get started!