6 Steps You Can Take to Get the Best Home Appraisal

When home values are soaring or are down in the dumps, it’s important to take the necessary steps to obtain the best home appraisal as possible. Whether you want to sell or refinance your home, your home appraisal is critical to determining whether you will receive financing. The appraisal is based on the sale of other comparable homes in your community and it’s in your best interest as a homeowner to keep those numbers high.

Homeowners can take several steps toward obtaining the best home appraisal as possible. Some aspects may involve home improvement, whereas others play into who you choose to conduct your appraisal:

1. Prepare the Home for Success

Start by scrutinizing your home from top to bottom. Replace missing roof shingles, patch and paint over holes in the wall and have your carpets professionally cleaned. The goal is to get the house looking almost new instead of having that “lived in” appearance.

2. Access all Sale Paperwork

Your appraiser will need a copy of the sales contract and land survey to accurately prepare an appraisal report. Locate an extra copy of the land survey because the appraiser may need to keep one to prepare the evaluation.

3. Research the Market

You don’t have to be an appraiser to get an idea of the community and your competition. Check out real estate sites online to obtain a list of homes recently sold in your area. Examine and compare the exact location and size of the properties to pinpoint which homes are similar to yours.  

For the most accurate comparison make a list of homes recently sold with your home’s approximate square footage, year built, same number of bathrooms and bedrooms. Also, upgrades will boost your appraisal, such as having a pool.

4. Ask for a Referral

The best way to identify a qualified appraisal company is to ask your lender or title agent for a recommendation. A good appraisal is in your lender’s best interest and typically your lender or title company will have a list of reputable appraisers they’ve worked with in the past.

5. Be Home During the Appraisal

An open dialog between you and your appraiser allows you to gage the appraiser’s experience in your community and provides an opportunity to identify specific upgrades or renovations that will positively enhance the report. Ask the appraiser for his or her take on your local community to get an idea of market knowledge.

6. Request a Copy of the Appraisal

To ensure accuracy, ask your lender for a copy of the appraisal once the report has been generated. Compare the appraiser’s findings with your own market research and meet with your lender immediately if you find any glaring inaccuracies. For example, if the appraiser’s comparables don’t resemble your property or if you find errors on the report regarding your property, a new appraisal should be ordered.  

Above all don’t panic if the appraisal comes back lower than your estimate. Keep a clear head and try to take a pragmatic approach when examining your home’s value.

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