In this market, sellers really do need to get prepared for their appraisals. While I would not suggest speaking directly to the appraiser, getting the home into show ready condition and having a list of work done to the home are excellent ideas.
Interest rates may have been rising, but they are still invitingly low. As a consequence, some homeowners are looking to refinance their mortgages to lock in interest rates while they can. A key element in both refinancing and home sales is, of course, the formal appraisal.
Most homeowners regard the appraisal process as a spectator activity: the appraiser comes, checks out the house, goes back to the office and writes up an appraisal. But, as with most of life’s endeavors, taking a proactive stance is more likely to garner the best results. When it comes to the appraisal, there are several factors that you do control.
First — before you even call in the appraiser — prep the house. Now is the time to address any flaws that could materially affect the valuation. Next, be sure to select an appraisal company with local ties. Appraisers who live and work outside the area are typically more likely to render a conservative valuation. Having less familiarity with the neighborhoods breeds caution. Anappraiser from town will be aware of the local amenities and attractions which make a property more desirable.
If you have made significant improvements to the property, point them out to the appraiser. Organize evidence proving what you spent for each. If you can provide ‘before’ and ‘after’ photos, provide copies the appraiser can take with him. This is particularly important for improvements such as heating or cooling systems: they can add considerable value to an appraisal, but are difficult to see.
Don’t leave it up to your appraiser to find comparables for your property – you (or me, if I am your agent) can provide the ones that tell the story you want it told. Comps are particularly important if you can find properties that have sold without an agent — the appraiser may not have access to these. It’s not unknown for an appraiser to accidentally miss one or two that are similar to your property and well-priced. Why leave it to chance?
John Badalamenti is an Associate Broker with Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Fox & Roach, REALTORS® serving the Philadelphia Main Line & Surrounding Suburban Philadelphia area. John can be reached via email @ firstname.lastname@example.org or visit his website: www.MainLineHomeZone.com
Tom Branch and Gina Branch, The Branch Team with RE/MAX Dallas Suburbs, service the greater North Dallas suburbs including Dallas, Plano, Allen, McKinney, Frisco, Lewisville, and Carrollton. While Gina concentrates on traditional listings and buyer/tenant representation, Tom specializes in assisting distressed homeowners to avoid foreclosure. Tom and Gina have published two books (Achieving Rock Star Status and The Field Guide to Short Sales) and are available for speaking engagements in the greater Dallas - Fort Worth Metroplex. Subscribe to The Branch Team Blog.
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