Regardless of how much you and I think your home is worth and, surprisingly, how much a buyer is willing to pay means nothing to the buyers’ lender.
Naturally, the lender wants to know that it isn’t lending more money than the home is worth so the home must be professionally appraised.
Usually, all goes well and the appraiser and the agent’s value match and the homebuyer agrees with the evaluation. In fact, fewer than 4 percent of home sales fail, for any reason.
However, with inventories low and multiple offers becoming the norm,
homebuyers are overbidding on homes, artificially inflating their value
Many of these homes simply don’t appraise compared to comparable homes.
Because the home appraisal is such an important part of the sale process, many homeowners ask if there is anything they should do to get the home ready for the visit.
I’ve spoken to a number of appraisers and, interestingly, they don’t all agree. Some just want the homeowner to provide easy access to attics, etc. while others say that cleaning and doing minor repairs will raise the home’s perceived value.
The Realty Billings Team thinks it doesn’t hurt to do all you can to ensure the home appraises for the highest amount possible. So, let’s take a look at a few things that appraisal consultants recommend you should do to get to that goal.
If it’s a spring sale, you’ll need to get your curb appeal on by clearing away dead and overgrown landscape plants, ridding the lawn and beds of weeds and spreading a fresh layer of mulch in the latter to give it a fresh, new look.
Then, consider planting anything with colorful flowers or foliage, especially close to the front door.
In winter, there’s not much you can do to the home’s exterior. Rid the walkways, steps and porch of ice (won’t do you any good if the appraiser has a slip and fall) and pick up dead, fallen branches.
Sure, you’ve heard that cleaning and decluttering are important so get that out of the way first. Then, work on minor repairs, such as a dripping faucet or anything else that the appraiser will notice and lead to the assumption that the home hasn’t been well maintained.
Take care of the little extras that will make the home appear cared-for and ready to bring in the highest amount that the market allows.
The kitchen and bathrooms are where you’ll get the most bang for your update buck. Consider updating your cabinets, even if it means repainting or re-facing them. Then, don’t forget the hardware – new pulls and knobs can make the cabinets look brand new.
Lighting and plumbing fixtures come next and you’d be surprised how even the least expensive replacements can freshen up the room.
Make areas appear larger by removing oversized furniture and bulky items from closets. For instance, remove big, bulky comforters from linen closets and exercise equipment or huge TVs from bedrooms.
Give the appraiser an information overload
Think about recent sales – say, over the last six months or so – in your neighborhood. Was there a home that sold for less than what it should have? More important – do you have information about why it sold for so little that the appraiser may not know about?
For instance, homes sold between family members typically sell for less than market value. If the home was in very poor condition, the owner needed to relocate quickly or a nasty divorce – these are all reasons the appraiser needs to be, well, apprised about.
Next, make a list of all the improvements you’ve made over the past few years. The more detailed list, the better. Instead of listing that you replaced the tile in the bathroom, list the date the job was done, who performed it and how much it cost.
Even the best laid plan to woo the appraiser may not go well. While the buyer owns the appraisal, The Realty Billings Team, has tips on how to challenge a low appraisal, should the need arise.