Are you planning to sell your home or possibly refinance? If you are, it’s beneficial that you know what to expect when an appraiser will come and overview your home. The role of an appraiser is to assess the value of your home and property within the particular housing market trends. They are known to provide an unbiased assessment of the land and exterior and interior of your home and property. This means they will look at everything from your yard, decks, front porches, windows, doors, garages, and everything else inside which also means there can be a lot to prepare for.
Be One Step Ahead
If you are thinking of selling or refinancing then this is the time where you will want to make your own assessments of your home and property and create a list of work needed around the home to get it ready before the appraiser comes out. Waiting until you start the process of refinancing or selling will most likely cause you a lot of stress as it is common to discover a list of things that need repair or touching up. Even cleaning up a yard can be a lot of work so it’s always a better idea to be one step ahead in the process.
Start With The Basics
Before you start to stress out take a deep breath. This can be an easier experience if you have a plan. Start with the basics. Walk through your home and list any areas within each room that you think need repair work, replacements, or touch-ups. This can be everything from new light bulbs to drywall patching, paint touch-ups, or even areas that need a good scrubbing. Areas that need painting can have colored tape placed as you go through your home so that they are not skipped over when it comes time to touch them up. Check to make sure that your smoke alarms are working and whether or not they function as carbon monoxide detectors. If they do not function as a combined unit you will need to purchase what is needed in order to have both within the home.
Where It All Begins
Once you have overviewed your living space it will be time to start crossing everything off that list you made. This will be one of the more time-consuming aspects of the process but if you start this before you begin the refinance or selling process through your loan officer then you will have plenty of time to get done what is needed. If you have already started that process, no worries. Just take one step at a time and you will be surprised what you are able to accomplish. Cleaning, repairing drywall, fresh paint and touch-ups are all basics things that should be done prior to having your appraiser come out. First impressions do matter so these basic things should not be avoided. Depending on the shape of your home you may even need to repaint or touch up areas of the exterior part of your home as well. Even a fresh coat around a door frame can make all the difference.
Your Yard Matters
Sometimes this can be one of the most dreadful projects depending on the season you are planning to refinance or sell and of course, depending upon the shape your yard is in. Take the time to weed, clean up yard debris, and mow your grass. Cut or trim away any dead plants and/or branches around your home with the intent to keep things looking as simple as possible. Less is more appealing to the eyes so a tidy yard is the goal. You may need to pressure was any decking, patios, or even the siding of your house if they are dingy but keep in mind that if you’re selling or refinancing during the colder seasons then your appraiser should keep this into account. By no means will they be holding you to perfection. Be easy on yourself. You want your home to be appraised for the greatest value and therefore show off your homes potential but everyone knows that a winter yard looks far different than a summer yard. If the weather is permitting this will also be a good time to clean out the gunk in your gutters and check for any external damage that may need to be repaired.
Keep Current Trends In Mind
It’s probably been a while since you’ve updated the materials in your home. Most of the time, a fresh coat of paint will bring new life to a home and project the current trends but other materials can also catch an appraiser’s eye. Appliances, flooring, carpeting, and counters can all be assessed for the value of your home. This is not to say that you have to do a complete remodel on your home but a good rule of thumb is to assess the cost it would take to repair or replace these materials and assume that value would go against your total home value. One or two areas may not make a difference when it comes to how updated your home is but if the majority of your home is outdated and/or damaged you will want to look into ways you can update the materials. Other things that can appeal to the eye of an appraiser are bright, colorful throw pillows along the couch, fresh flowers in a vase on the kitchen counter, and live house plants that are strategically placed. Lighting a candle can even create an ambiance that can go a long way in imparting a good first impression.
Less Is Better
Earlier it was mentioned that less is better. When there is a lot of clutter the house and/or yard can seem chaotic. Keeping everything tidy when the appraiser comes out to look at your house will do wonders. Store things in cupboards off of the counters during this time. Practice being a minimalist as best as you can. Cleaning may not be your forte but it will be worth the time and effort you put in to get the highest assessed value of your home. Making beds, keeping toys in storage bins as well as any other household items that may find their way often to the floors or spread across a room should be picked up and put away. Even bathroom items that are normally left along the countertops should be placed away for a time in the cupboards or cabinets so that they are out of sight. Remember, less is better.
The appraiser is not your enemy. Be friendly. Though it may feel as if they are working against you they are actually there to help you. Feel free to ask them questions especially once they are done. If there are any tips they can give you on making improvements to increase the value of your home you will want to know. They will not tell you what the final assessment is but they can provide insight. You also can provide insight. Many appraisers are not familiar with the areas they are looking at homes in. Share with them what school district you fall in as well as the other districts that border your area. Parks, shopping plazas, freeway accessibility, and other public amenities all play a role in the value of our homes so share these with your appraiser in case they are not aware.
The process of getting your home ready for a refinance or selling state can be a journey of sorts but it doesn’t have to be grueling. If you can give yourself time within the process you will be able to accomplish what is needed to get done. If you happen to be on a time crunch then assess the priorities, the major fix-its, and start there. Whatever you do, doing something is better than nothing.