Appraisals are an important part of the process when you are purchasing a home. More than ever the appraiser has the power to determine whether or not a sale goes to the closing table. The buyer and seller can agree on a price, but if the appraisal comes back low, either the sale will not go through or the buyer and/or seller have to bring money to the table. So ultimately, the appraisal determines if the lender will finance the home or not.
10 Ways to Get a Better Appraisal when Selling your home:
1. Meet the appraiser at the house.
2. Give the appraiser as may comparable sales as you have for the subject property. If it’s a property where there are few or no comparable sales, go out in a radius search until you find some. Go back as far as a year or even more if it’s a special type property (waterfront, for example). Realize that the appraiser may deduct value if the sale is further than 3 months out.
3. Call the agents for the comparable sales to get as much information as possible for the appraiser. The house that sold down the street that needed a new roof – they need to know that, but it’s probably not in the MLS information.
4. Give a complete list of every upgrade and improvement that has been made to the home. Be sure to include maintenance items as well as upgrades. There is a category for “condition” on appraisals and although it won’t match dollar for dollar, it will be mentioned.
5. Be sure to note when flooring is “hardwood” instead of “wood” or “laminate.” Be specific about other surfaces (granite vs. Corian) and improvements. A glazed 42” raised-panel cabinet with full coverage costs more than Level 1 42” cabinets. Some appliances are worth more money than others.
6. Give the appraiser a copy of your marketing materials, including the beautiful photos you have of the interior, exterior and grounds.
7. Be sure to note anything about the lot – the preserve not only on the side but across the street, for instance. Note the size of the lot vs. any comparable sales (if it’s to your advantage).
8. Give a list of amenities that are in the neighborhood.
9. If there are communities nearby that are not really good comparables, a map with some notes about the lack of amenities, production starter homes vs. your community with custom homes on estate lots, etc., can be very helpful to an appraiser that is not from that area.
10. Lastly, be helpful to the appraiser, not condescending.
If you make the effort to be sure the appraiser is well educated, you will have a much better chance of the house appraising and the sale going through. Appraisers’ work hasn’t lessened but many times their fees have been cut. Anything we can do to help is in the sellers and buyer best interest.
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