When you refinance your mortgage, a very important stage in this process is getting a great home appraisal. This can make the difference between getting a good deal or losing even more money. While your home’s location is something that can add up value (or not) to the final price, there are many things you can do to drive the price up.
Here are few home appraisal tips
Do your homework
Don’t let the appraiser do all the ‘digging‘ (especially if he’s not from the area). Even if you get to work with a very well prepared professional, knowing the price for similar houses in your area and what’s cool and new in the neighborhood, can set you up for a better appraisal. It all matters: housing prices, a new restaurant, a great high-school etc. Make sure to mention these and also have a list with all your home’s work and improvements.
Check and clean the outside of the house
Sure, if your home is not brick and mortar, you can’t re-build it to get a higher value, but you can still try to repair any cracks, maybe even take care of the windows that need fixing. Structure and functionality are the things an appraiser will look at, so do solve any such issues with your home, as much as possible.
Make sure the landscape looks good
Don’t go overboard with installing zen fountains or god knows what trinkets and don’t over-spend on this. Still, a clean yard, some nice flowers, the door freshly painted and a nicely mowed lawn can make a huge difference. Since your home’s exterior is the first thing the appraiser will see, make sure it looks clean and well cared for. Sure, most professionals might not bother with this, but there are still appraisers that look at such details. If it doesn’t cost you a lot (and it shouldn’t), cleaning up the landscape can only improve your chances.
Don’t let pets run wild
Most of us are pet owners, but, even if the appraiser is one of ‘us’, he still shouldn’t have to deal with your pets, their hairs all over the place and the smell they leave in the house. It’s true you don’t have to impress the appraiser as you’d do with a potential buyer, but even small details count.
Clean up the house
It’s shocking to see how many people don’t bother vacuum or wash the dishes on a regular basis. OK, we are all tired and over-worked, but, when your home is up for inspection, the least you can do is make sure it’s spotless. In theory the appraiser shouldn’t take this into account (since the measure up the property, assess the amenities etc.), but dirt can make the furniture and carpets look older than they are.
A thorough cleaning can make everything look new and modern (even if it’s not), which can drive up the price more. Or, it can just set the appraiser in a better mood and we all know they’re not robots.
Fix what needs fixing (or remove)
Imagine you go into a kitchen and the faucet is not running. Or, worse, you get into a bathroom and are shocked to see how everything is falling apart. So, one of the most important home appraisal tips would be to make sure all the ‘equipment‘ is in working condition.
Most of us have ‘hoarded’ furniture, trinkets, clothing, gadgets, books – you name it, we surely have it stashed somewhere in the house. Try to remove all the items that make your rooms look crammed (and smaller). A room that has only the furniture and few decorations will look spacious, modern and clean, thus giving a better impression. Experienced appraisers can see through the mess and clutter, but you wouldn’t want to risk anything.
Showcase what’s great in your home
All houses, even the ones that don’t really look impressive, have ‘something’ that sets them apart and makes them nice (the reason you live there, right?). Make sure you show off those qualities, they can improve the way your house is appraised.
Give your appraiser space
There’s nothing more annoying for someone who needs to assess your home value, than have you follow them around every second. Make sure you are there for any questions and information, though, but do let the professional do the job.
Create a nice atmosphere
OK, it’s not like you’re dating your appraiser, but the home should be welcoming: the right temperature (not too hot during summer or cold during winter), a nice smell, clean look. You’ll say (and rightfully so), that these shouldn’t matter. We’re dealing with humans though, and few details can matter. I remember back when we visited our friends in NYC, they did get an appraiser there. While he cared for the house’s ‘specs’, we did prepare in advance: cleaning, decluttering etc. He got a good appraisal and was very happy with it.
What would you also consider to be some good home appraisal tips? Would you consider some of these as not important? What worked for you?