An essential part of the mortgage refinance process, a home appraisal is a way to judge what your property is currently worth – and how lenders can ensure that you are able to leverage the full value of your equity. When it comes to an appraisal, it is in the homeowner’s best interest that it be evaluated as high as possible.
With that in mind, here are a few simple steps to make sure that your appraiser sees a home at the peak of its value:
Focus on the small stuff
Does your bathroom faucet have a persistent drip? Is there a tiny water stain on your ceiling? These are the kind of details that, when tallied all together, can have a significant impact on the overall value of a home. Use the time before your home evaluation is scheduled to get everything in order from top to bottom, fixing little issues and making your home clean, well-maintained and inviting.
Make sure your safety equipment is fully-functional and properly installed
Often in the rush to gussy up the decor of a home, people forget about the non-aesthetic elements that add value. Smoke alarms, carbon monoxide detectors and fire extinguishers properly installed in strategic safety areas will show an appraiser that you are making efforts to protect your home, making it more valuable.
Make sure your appliances work While not part of the home per se, appliances like a refrigerator and dishwasher can add value to a property – assuming they are clean and fully functional. Don’t neglect these essential components of everyday life when you do a walkthrough and check for issues.
Shop around and pick your appraisers carefully
Since an appraisal is ultimately a subjective assessment of a home’s value, it makes sense that different appraisers may come up with different values. Look for an appraiser who is well-reviewed by their customers, has worked with similar homes in your area and knows the local market. Most important, look to see that they are state certified.
Keep an eye on your neighbors’ homes
Have your neighbors recently had their homes appraised? Talk to them about who they went with and what kinds of issues they ran into. Also keep in mind that part of the home’s value is tied to the property values around it. A gorgeously appointed home in a dingy area is likely to fetch a lower price than a similar home in an up-and-coming area.
Make sure your appraiser has all the facts
Even a knowledgeable, locally-based appraiser is more than likely walking in with limited information on your specific home. That means that some of the home improvements and investment you have made in your property may go unnoticed – unless you speak up. Be sure to inform an appraiser of any major renovations or projects you have spearheaded that may have bumped up the value of your home. I
nvesting time into each of these factors often provides a major return for sellers.