Dos and Don’ts of Appraising Your Home

Posted on: October 13, 2021

When getting a loan in a real estate transaction, your lender may require you to purchase an appraisal of your home. If that is the case, your appraisal needs to show your home is valued higher than the loan amount. If you are selling your home, you will want a high valuation on the appraisal to help you gain a high selling price; however, either way, you will want the appraisal to be accurate. 

The Barrington real estate market is competitive, and an inaccurate home appraisal could hinder your transaction. While you can’t affect the outcome of the appraisal, there are some things you can do to help the process, while there are also some things you want to be sure not to do as they can lead to legal trouble. Make sure you get the most out of your home appraisal by following these dos and don’ts below.

Do repair any damage


In order to gain the highest valuation on your property, you want to be sure there are no signs of neglect. Make sure all repairs are made, and everything is in working order. If the appraiser suspects the property has not been maintained, they are more likely to give a lower valuation on your home. If something is broken or not working correctly, it is a red flag that there may be other issues with the home. Plus, a well-maintained home will help you stand out among the other homes for sale in the Barrington area.

Do give the lawn a fresh mow


First impressions matter. If your yard is well maintained, it is a good indicator that the rest of the home is also. There are instances when the appraiser may not need to enter the home to complete their valuation. In that case, it is imperative that your curb appeal shines as it will be the only impression the appraiser has of the property.

Do clean up the property


Make sure the interior and the exterior of the home are clean and all walkways are clear. Your appraiser is on the property to evaluate it and provide a valuation of the real estate. If they are tripping over items in the walkways and moving storage bins to access areas of the home, it is going to hinder their process and your valuation. Your home should be prepared just like it would be for showing it to a prospective buyer. Cleaning up your home in a general sense is a good way to prepare your home, while also increasing the appraisal value.

Do keep records on improvements made to the property


A full kitchen makeover costing around $60,000 probably won’t increase the value of your home by $60,000, but it could give you a bump in valuation. Some appraisers are only on the property for an hour, so it is possible they could miss improvements made to the property. Having documentation and proof of the renovations you made will make it much easier for the appraiser to justify an increase in valuation. When you are listing your home for sale, these records will also help you gain a better listing price and help your realtor negotiate a better sale price.

Do understand your home’s fair market value


Your real estate agent can provide the necessary research for you when it comes to understanding your home’s true value. They are able to run a competitive market analysis on your property to see how much similar homes have recently sold for. They can also adjust for anything that makes your home different and unique. 

Maybe your home has recently updated the kitchen cabinetry, for example, while a similar home in the area still had the original oak. In that example, your agent will be able to adjust the value of your home and provide a realistic value of your property. Having this knowledge before the appraisal will help ensure you don’t have any surprises during or after your appraisal.

Don’t follow the appraiser


While it can be tempting to follow the appraiser through the home to make sure they notice any improvements, your best bet is to leave the home while the appraiser is on the property. This ensures that the appraiser makes an unbiased assessment of the property, and all parties can rest assured that the appraiser had no influence from you on the valuation. 

Don’t try to sway your appraiser


Prior to 2008, appraisers were under pressure to inflate their valuations, but state and federal laws passed after 2008 put an end to that. You may communicate with your appraiser about any major repairs made or any significant changes and developments in the neighborhood that may affect your value. You may also request a correction on your appraisal if you feel there was an error made. 

However, you cannot suggest a valuation to the appraiser or try to pressure them in any way to come within a particular range on the valuation. Federal regulations require the appraiser to be unbiased toward the buyer, seller, and lender. They cannot have any interest or personal stake in the outcome of the appraisal. Trying to sway or bribe your appraiser can result in legal trouble for you.

Getting the most out of your home appraisal can make the process easier on you and ensure a better outcome. Working with a Barrington real estate agent will help you get through the appraisal process successfully and with the least amount of stress. Ready to move forward? Reach out to local agent Connie Antoniou for assistance. 

 

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