10 tips to help get the best home appraisal

Joan Shaffer April 3, 2017 Appraisal Home Improvement Homeowners Sellers

Front Range home sellers in 2017 are in for another good year, but regardless of the market, there’s one thing all sellers want: the highest possible appraisal. Contrary to popular belief, there are some things that sellers can do to help ensure that the appraiser doesn’t overlook features of the home that could result in a healthy bump in the appraised price. Here are nine creative tips to consider, but if you’d like to discuss specifics of your own home, let’s get together and talk.

1. Knowledge is power, and a good place to begin is to get a comparative market analysis that looks at homes sold in your area that would compare with your home. The appraiser will look at their own comparables in the area, but it doesn’t hurt to provide them with a few of your own. (Note that real estate professionals have access to far greater details of area home sales than you will find on the Internet. If this is of interest to you, let’s talk.)

2. Create a list of all features and improvements to your home that make your home stand out from the competition. If possible, include receipts of these improvements.

3. Create a list of notables such as: convenient location to transportation or stores, a fabulous view, privacy, mature landscaping, etc.

4. Have any safety equipment installed and working properly. These include smoke alarms, carbon monoxide alarms, and home security alarms.

5. Control your pets. The less stressful the appraiser’s inspection, the better off you’ll both be. If possible, have a friend take your pet while the appraiser is in the home. Barking dogs and hissing cats could become an annoying distraction to some appraisers who might hurry through the process and in their haste might miss some of your home’s value-building features.

6. First impressions matter, and although appraisers will look beyond any mess, a neat and clean home adds value because it looks well taken care of, both inside and out.

7. Spruce up the curb appeal. The first thing the appraiser is going to judge about your property is your yard. Make sure it is mowed and trimmed, that there are no toys or clutter strewn about, that your garden is free of weeds, and that your driveway and sidewalk are neatly swept.

8. Cooperate with the appraiser. A nice, friendly and cooperative owner will make a much more favorable impression than a contentious one.

9. Appraisers often work in $500 increments. They’ll also take this into account if a repair or upgrade is required. That means leaky faucets, cracked windows and missing handrails can have a significant financial impact on your home’s value–even if it doesn’t cost that much to fix.

10. Be prudent in your updates. Many people think the mantra “bathrooms and kitchens” is the panacea for getting high prices on homes. It isn’t. First, consider the fact that kitchen and bathroom remodels carry some of the priciest renovation costs. For that reason, it may be more prudent to spend a bit of money for just a bit of updating. Paint, new carpets, new light or plumbing fixtures don’t break the bank, but can provide a dramatic impact.

In the end, the appraiser is not obligated to use any of the data that you provide to him or her. However, making the appraiser’s job easier by following these guidelines contributes to the best possible results.

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