Lately, articles are featuring stories about low appraisals. There is often a gap between what the homeowner feels their house is worth, and the value that the appraisal reports. The main issue with this situation is when the appraised value is too low to support the anticipated loan, causing many to fall through.
The appraiser determines the estimated market value primarily considering the sales approach, which translates to the comparable sales near you influencing your value.
While everything in the market is not within the control of the homeowner, there are some things to do to actively make a difference on an appraisal in order to secure the loan you are working toward.
Fix the leaky faucet, the hole in the wall, the light switches, or the air conditioning. Make sure everything is in working order before the day of the appraisal. Demonstrate that you take care of your property and that your home is in good condition. The comparable sales the appraiser will be using have usually been repaired and cleaned up before they were put on the market, and you want your property to compare positively.
Organize and clean
Make your home presentable. Remove clutter and put away items in their correct rooms and places. Are your clothes strewn about your room? Can those papers on your kitchen counter be organized into a drawer for the time being? Show off your home as if you were trying to sell it to a buyer.
Mowing the yard and taking care of your shrubs and trees will make the outside of your home attractive. Hiding visible trash bins and trimming your yard edges give the outdoor space a more polished look.
Making your property look nice makes it more appealing.
List and advise
List the improvements and cost of improvements you have made to the home in the last 5 years. Have you updated the bathroom? Replaced an appliance? Even less obvious changes such as plumbing should be noted so that the appraiser knows there have been improvements below the surface. Have your list copied for the appraiser to take with him or her.
Consider appraising and reselling when you make changes to your space.
Stay informed about properties around you and in your market. Research houses similar to your own to get a feel for your home’s value. Take note of attractions and amenities in your neighbor hood or town that may add to its worth.
Also, knowing the values of other properties may influence your decision making when deciding on future changes to your home.
Be cordial, but scarce
If you are home during the time of the appraisal, give the appraiser some space! It’s not comforting to be watched while you work, and appraisers don’t want to be hovered over. Hang around, answer some questions, ask your own, but don’t be controlling or overbearing. You don’t want to give the idea that there is something wrong with the property.
Usually, the appraiser will not give you their opinion of value, when ordered by the lender. The USPAP Confidentiality Clause warns the appraiser of discussing anything with anyone except the client that engaged them for their services. If they were engaged by the lender, that is their client and to whom the appraised value will be submitted.
While there are many business aspects to take into account when preparing for an appraisal, taking care of physical appearance, giving your home some TLC, and being informed about your market can create a better environment for an appraisal. Take care of your home, be confident and prepared, and you can make a difference.