A home appraisal is the process of determining the value of a piece of real estate. Appraisals are carried out by professional appraisers who are licensed by the local county. When an appraisal is scheduled, appraisers visit the property and assess its value based on its general appeal, structural condition, and surrounding neighborhood.
The appraisal value of your house is more than just an assessment of its overall liveability. It has an important effect on things like your ability to refinance a mortgage. A low appraisal value may mean you have to wait till the value increases to refinance or force you to do a cash-in refinance.
Appraisals also affect how much buyers interested in your house can get from mortgage lenders. If your listing price is much higher than the appraisal value, buyers won't be able to raise the funds required to complete the purchase.
For all of those reasons, it's important that sellers try to get the highest appraisal value on their homes. Here are a few ways in which you can go about doing that.
Request a Local Appraiser
Knowing how to accurately assess the value of a property takes an understanding of the local real estate market. And that means being familiar with the market not just at a city level, but from neighborhood to neighborhood. An appraiser who isn't familiar with your neighborhood is more likely to inaccurately gauge its value.
Ask your lender to send an appraiser who has local experience. The more homes they've appraised near you, the better.
Supply the Appraiser with Comps
If you can't find an appraiser with experience evaluating homes in your area, there are a few things you can do to bring them up to speed. The first is to provide a short list of comparable properties, or comps.
One of the main factors that determine the appraised value of a home is the selling price of comparable properties. If you can provide the appraiser with three or four comps, you help them with some of their research and influence how your house is seen.
Highlight the Neighborhood
The house itself contributes significantly to how a property is appraised, but it isn't everything. The surrounding neighborhood and its amenities also play a part.
When interacting with an appraiser, especially one who isn't local, make sure that you let them know about the notable characteristics of the neighborhood. Is it well-connected to the city? Is a new community center under development near your home? Identify the amenities and features that you have benefited from and make sure that the appraiser is aware of them.
Make High-Impact Renovations
A repair is something that addresses a functional element of a house. Renovations and home improvements are updates that lead to an increase in property value.
There are a few simple improvements homeowners can make to get a high appraisal. Painting your house and replacing the countertops can instantly improve your house. Energy conserving components like solar heaters and energy-efficient windows can also increase the value of your home.
Track Home Improvements
Carrying out renovations by itself doesn't technically increase the value of a house. You have to get an appraiser to account for the updates you have made to the property since the last time it was evaluated.
An easy way to do that is by tracking the home improvements you invest in and when you make them. You can then list these improvements along with key information such as the date of completion, the cost of the improvement, the contractor's contact details, and so on.
Be prepared to provide receipts for each home improvement project. By doing this you ensure that the appraiser notices the updates and is aware of their value.
Clean and Declutter
When it's finally time for the appraiser to take a look at the property, it's important that you present it in the best possible light. The easiest way to do that is by decluttering your house and cleaning it thoroughly.
The presence of clutter isn't just an eyesore; it may also signal a lack of space or storage areas within the house. Box up as many items as possible and leave only what adds to the aesthetic of the space.
Understand the Market
At the end of the day, the real value of your house is determined by how much buyers are willing to pay for it. The best way to go about getting a high appraisal value is by understanding what buyers are looking for. This ensures not just that your house appraises at a high value, but also that you're able to get a quick offer after going on the market.
This is another area where comparable properties come in handy. Use tools like Zillow and Realtor.com to find houses similar to your own that sold recently. View the listings to see what homes that sell above market rates have in common. If possible, visit these properties to take a look for yourself. Applying what you see can help you take steps to get a high appraisal on your home.
Clever Partner Agents assist home sellers by identifying what changes to their property will make the biggest impact on its appraised value. Partner Agents craft listings so that they reflect the appraisal value of your home. When you're ready to sell your home, connect with a Partner Agent who can help you get the highest possible price on your home at a reduced commission.