Being an appraiser, I see anxiety and the look of fear on a home sellers face when I walk through the door. Here I will share my home appraisal tips for sellers. My goal is to shed some light for home sellers and best prepare them for the home appraisal.
Put the Home Appraisal First
This is probably the best of all home appraisal tips. The tip is to get a pre-appraisal. The market is very difficult for a home owner to interpret and the listing price is paramount. A realtor can make suggestions and provide comparable sales, but they do not always understand which comparable sales are allowable for use within an appraisal report. Don’t wait until the end of the process to know your home’s fair market value. Even if you find a willing buyer, it doesn’t mean your home will appraise for the contract price.
Prepare a List of Improvements
The second home appraisal tip is list your improvements. Make a list of all improvements that have been made and the year they were completed. Break the list down into two categories. Presenting this list to the appraiser is a tremendous help.
- Mechanicals, (I.E.) new roof, new heating and cooling, new hot water heater, new windows, updated electric and updated plumbing.
- Cosmetic improvements, (I.E) remodeled kitchen, remodeled baths, new carpet, new hardwood, ceramic, or laminate flooring, new drywall, new fixtures, new decks, porches or patios, new fencing, new landscaping (retaining walls), and new driveways.
Be Proactive and Fix Things Prior to Appraisal
The third tip I will provide you is regarding the condition of your property. This is actually a lot of home appraisal tips combined.
Safety is the number one concern within Fannie Mae guidelines. If your house is not safe you are asking for trouble. Making repairs prior to a home inspection or a home appraisal requesting them could save you not only money but the entire sale.
- Make sure all of your mechanicals work. The appraiser will turn the furnace or central air on. They will also turn on faucets, light switches, and plumbing fixtures.
- Clean your house. Infestation is on page 1 of an appraisal report. If you have ants, cockroaches, rats or mice in your home the appraiser will note it in the report.
- Look for peeling paint on any surface. If your house was built prior to 1978 the appraiser will require all peeling paint to be removed and encapsulated by re-painting the peeling areas.
- Mold or anything that looks like mold should be removed.
- If any of the following items are damaged or missing replace them.
- Drop ceilings
- Roof shingles
If any of the above conditions exist, the appraiser will require repairs. For example, if there is mold, the appraiser will call for an inspection from a mold remediation company which may run a home owner $2,000 to $5,000. If repairs are mandated and your buyer is getting an FHA loan, the repairs will be in the FHA appraisal database for 1 year. So if the repairs make you lose your first buyer, the next FHA buyer that comes along will be informed by the FHA that repairs are required. In short, these repairs can cost the home seller more than money. It can cost them their buyer and also the ability to sell their home.
Supply Your Comparable Sales
The last of my home appraisal tips involves comparable sales. If you had a pre listing appraisal done, I encourage you to provide the appraiser with the comparable sales used to arrive at your listing and sale prices. While the appraiser will do their own analysis, it may help.
Take your home appraisal tips from a certified residential home appraiser!