Top 7 Tips For Homeowners When Getting An Appraisal Done
By Hisham Labanieh
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In my years of appraising real estate properties Iíve found sometimes homeowners were nervous and occasionally very uneasy. Some of that uneasiness was due to having a complete stranger walking around their house taking pictures, inspecting bathrooms and kitchens, and opening every door inside. But perhaps a bigger reason for their uneasiness was that they didnít know what an appraisal entailed and thus had no idea how to prepare for it. It is like going in to class on exam day and not knowing what subject the exam is in.
Below are 7 tips that will help homeowners prepare for an appraisal and thus help put their minds to rest:
- Housekeeping: Always make sure that your home is clean and presentable for the appraisal inspection. While the appraiser may be able to ignore homes that are untidy, your lender may not do the same. Underwriters and desk reviewers look at interior and exterior pictures to see what condition your property is in. You do not want them to have a bad impression of your home or else they will form a certain bias against your property. Make sure the floors are clear of any mess, the beds are neat, and the bathrooms are clean. It helps to hide as much of the everyday clutter as possible.
- Easy Access: An appraiser must inspect every room inside your home or the appraisal will be incomplete and thus he or she will have to make a second trip out to the house. If one of the rooms is usually locked, it is important that the occupant of that room is able to unlock it for the short inspection period. This usually will only take a few minutes.
- Renovations: Make sure that any work that is being done to the property (such as adding rooms, wiring, plumbing, etc.) is complete by the time of the appraisal inspection. This will undoubtedly delay the appraisal and may even cause the value of your home to drop. Let your appraiser know of any work in progress while setting the appointment.
- Minor Repairs: It would be a good idea to make some minor repairs prior to the appraisal inspection. Things such as a rusty faucet, cracked window, or broken light bulb may be hard for some appraisers to ignore. A lack of adequate lighting may even hinder your appraiserís ability to take interior pictures of your home. These types of repairs are normally easy and will not cause a financial burden and instead will help form a good impression of your property.
- List of Improvements: It is a good idea to present your appraiser with a list of improvements that you have done to the property. Be sure to include everything and try to have it ready for the appraiser when he shows up. Donít leave out anything. Let your appraiser look through all the improvements and he or she will allocate the proper value to those improvements. Donít belittle any improvements that you have done to the property.
- Documentation: Have any needed documents ready for when your appraiser shows up. If you have made any additions or improvements to your home that may have necessitated city permits, be sure to have those documents on hand. If you pay Homeownerís Association (HOA), have a statement ready. When making the appointment, ask the appraiser what documents you need to have ready, if any. Often times no documents are needed for the appraisal.
- Be there: Appraisers are always on the go so it is important that you are available during the time for which you scheduled the appraisal. The next available appointment may not be for another 2 or days and the delay in time may lead your interest rate to rise. Plus with todayís gas prices being what they are, who knows how much the appraiser may charge you for gas surcharge.
Hisham Labanieh is a California licensed appraiser and owner of First Choice Appraisals [http://www.thefirstchoiceappraisals.com], a leading real estate appraisals company in Southern California.
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Article Submitted On: February 13, 2008