How to Prepare for a Home Appraisal
For homeowners, a real estate appraisal is the linchpin to buying or selling their home. It allows the property transactions to occur among the buyer, seller, real estate agent and mortgage lender.
Before the Home Appraiser Arrives
Before an Appraiser arrives, there are a few things you should know. By law, an appraiser must be state licensed to perform appraisals prepared for federally related transactions. Also by law, you are entitled to receive a copy of the completed appraisal report from your lender.
Have Documents Ready
To facilitate the appraisal process, it's beneficial to have these documents ready for the appraiser:
Repairs Needed Before The Appraisal
A home appraisal is different from a home inspection. A real estate appraiser looks for things that affect the overall value of the house. An inspector looks deeper to identify things that need to be fixed before you close.
Here are the most common repairs that should be completed before a real estate appraiser visits your home:
If possible, home repairs should be made to your home prior to the home appraisal being done, and if possible - before the home is put up for sale. The repairs not only improve the home’s marketability, but depending on the loan type the repairs will likely be required and will cost an additional fee for a re-inspection.
Cleaning Needed Before The Appraisal
A clean (or cluttered) home does not affect a home’s value. Appraisers see hundreds of homes a year and will look past most clutter. A good impression however, can help form a better opinion because sometimes, a messy home with stained carpet and dirt covering the walls indicates a home that isn’t being well maintained and can be a signal of underlying problems. Has the AC been well maintained? How about regular checkups for the heater? Are there repairs needed that have been neglected?
So while appraisers may not consider clutter in home value, it may add time to the appraisal or raise additional questions, especially when faced with extreme clutter.
After the Home Appraiser Arrives
Once your appraiser has arrived, you do not need to accompany him or her along on the entire site inspection, but you should be available to answer questions about your property and be willing to point out any home improvements.
Depending on the size of the home, an appraiser can spend anywhere from 1 to 4+ hours at your home. The appraiser will not only look around at your home and visit each room, but he or she will take pictures included in the appraisal report. Why? Several reasons.
Remember, an appraiser is collecting evidence to support the final opinion of value they arrive at for the bank, or to support a value to set a list price as is done with a pre-listing appraisal. The appraiser’s opinion must stand up in court, if challenged, and pictures are a tool to assist the appraiser’s description.
What An Appraiser Evaluates
Appraisers focus on the condition of the property, its layout and size. There are dozens of internal and external items on the Uniform Residential Appraisal Report, and these are the main focus areas:
Find more in-depth details about the things an appraiser evaluates in a home.
5 Things That Hurt A Home Appraisal
Besides square footage, and condition of the home to determine overall value, an appraiser is also looking for safety hazards or things that could cause damage to the house.
1. Cleanliness / Home Interior
2. Poor Curb Appeal
3. Outdated Kitchens, Bathrooms & Interiors
4. Outdated Systems and Appliances
5. Glossing Over Needed Repairs
What Appraisers Can’t Tell You
The appraiser is not allowed to give you - the homeowner - any information. Why? Because you are not the client, the lender who ordered the appraisal is the client.
Now, this isn't true if this is for a private appraisal like a divorce appraisal, or estate appraisal. Then the homeowner becomes the client and the appraiser can give out information.
However, if the appraisal is for a mortgage, the client is the bank. Appraisers understand that the homeowner is the one paying for the appraisal, however, the law is very clear that the homeowner can get a copy of the appraisal from the bank, but the appraiser can't discuss it with them.
Can I Order My Own Appraisal?
Wondering if you can speed up the appraisal by ordering your own? Usually the answer is no, but there are exceptions that allow you to hire your own appraiser.
Can I Get A Second Opinion?
A low home appraisal can be hurtful in receiving a home loan or refinancing. If you have good reason to believe the appraisal was too low, you can get a second opinion on your home appraisal.
To start, find a reason to appeal. This could be fact checking for errors like miscounting bedrooms or bathrooms, or listing the wrong square footage. If there are no factual errors, it’s important to consider if your own opinion of value is unbiased - is it what you WANT for the house, or what you KNOW it’s worth?
If you still believe your home is worth more than it was appraised for, you can challenge the appraisal. But - you must be prepared to point out mistakes the appraiser made in comparing other properties, “SIMILAR” sales comparables that the appraiser did not use or new/ upgraded features in your home that the appraiser missed.
Need A Home Appraisal In Phoenix, AZ?
We do home appraisals in the Phoenix area including Scottsdale, Chandler, Gilbert, Mesa, San Tan Valley and surrounding areas. We welcome you to look through our website, review appraisal services, join our Facebook community, and learn more about our expert appraisers.
Give us a call to schedule your appraisal.