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Having Your Home Appraised? Tips to optimize your appraisal experience

By Steve Miller

If you’re a homeowner, someday you may need your property appraised. You may want to refinance, apply for a home equity loan, or sell your home. Whatever the case may be, you’ll want the highest possible home appraisal. Here are some helpful hints every homeowner should follow to prepare for the maximum home appraisal possible

Knowledge and information are critical. As you get ready for an appraisal, take these steps:

  • Do your homework. Gather information regarding comparable home sales in your neighborhood. Read the newspaper and talk to your neighbors. This comparative information will give you an idea of the value of similar homes in your area.
  • Record changes. Every home requires upkeep. Transcribe a list of all improvements you have made to your home for as far back as you can remember. Provide this record to your appraiser as proof of the maintenance and improvements you’ve made that will serve to increase your home’s value.
  • Choose an appraiser. If you’re refinancing or applying for a home equity loan, the lender will usually choose the appraiser. But if the choice is yours, talk to neighbors and friends for referrals. Ask the right questions. Find out the data sources the potential appraiser uses to evaluate homes, and be sure they are certified appraisers. Check out their fees and turnaround time. Appraisals cost upwards of several hundred dollars and take anywhere from a few days to a few weeks.
  • Don’t pressure. Never push your appraiser to inflate your home appraisal. Not only is it unethical, it is considered illegal in some cases. Lenders and homeowners can report inaccurate evaluations to their state’s regulatory agency, known as the Office of Real Estate Appraisers.

Prepare your home

When you decide to get your home appraised, act quickly. Spruce up your home before the big day to help make a great impression. Here are some helpful hints that may help to raise your home’s appraised value:

  • Neutralize the interior. Make your home appealing. Consider repainting your walls if they are multicolored or out of style. Neutral colors, such as white or beige, make the house seem larger. Remodeling your home is usually a poor investment if your home is intact.
  • Clean up. Get out the vacuum, dust the shelves, straighten your kitchen, empty the trash, and mow your lawn. Making your home and landscape appear in peak condition may positively bias the appraiser.

Hope for the best

Once you have prepared yourself and your home for appraisal, just sit back and wait. The appraiser will examine the interior and exterior of your property, the quality and condition of materials, the physical size of your home, and the layout of the property.

Most appraisers use a comparative sales method, so they will match your home to others in the neighborhood that have recently sold. Normally, it only takes a few days to prepare a final report.

If you’ve prepared yourself and your property, you may be in for a pleasant surprise when you receive the appraisal!

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