Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Seven Things You Can Do to Help Your Appraiser Come Up With a Strong Number

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These days, a lot depends on how an appraiser thinks your home (or the one you are purchasing) is valued. Whether you are having an appraisal done to appease the lender for a new purchase or if you are getting your existing home refinanced – it is very important the numbers line up. If the sale price/refinance amount does not line up with what an appraiser thinks the home is valued at – you can expect to face some pretty hefty challenges.

So to help make the appraisal process as positive and frankly, as much in your favor as possible, here are some tips to get the ball rolling in the right direction:

Request a Local Appraiser
Lenders commission independent companies to go out and evaluate homes, then provide them with reports. Many of these companies are regionally based or in some cases national firms. By requesting your lender to hire a local person, you can count on that appraiser to provide a more accurate number.

Don’t Hesitate to Make Their Job Easier
Provide as much information as possible, including area comparable properties, well-documented evidence of all improvements made to the home and other helpful items such as blueprints or recent surveys, etc. Not only will this make their job easier, but also it will help to support your case on why the home should be valued higher than if they did not take those things into consideration.

Renovate and Remodel Carefully
Whenever considering a remodel project on your home, consider the potential return on investment for each project. By far, kitchens and bathrooms yield the strongest return on dollars spent for improvements.

Keep Up-To-Date With Citywide Improvements
If you know of any new developments, projects and citywide improvement schemes, share them with your appraiser. Current knowledge of these things will only help to enhance your appraiser’s valuation of your property, keeping in mind that these things typically bring up the value of a home.

Pay Attention to Your Surroundings
Just like a homebuyer or anyone else that walks through a home, there is a lot to be said for perceived value. An easy way to steer your appraiser’s attention to the more attractive features of your home is to be careful not to let them be distracted with unsightly aspects. Keep your spaces clear, clutter-free and updated. Most appraisers do not spend too much time in a home and first impressions can do a lot to influence an appraiser’s opinion of a property.

Don’t Hover But Be Available
In case the appraiser has any questions, it is a good idea to be around to be able to answer them. But it is just as important not to hover and crowd around the appraiser, rather give them space to do their job without feeling cornered. They will appreciate this and also likely be more lenient when not stressed during an evaluation.

Know the Difference Between Above and Below Grade Square Footage
Just as certain improvements to a property yield a higher ROI, it is important to keep an eye on value as it translates through above grade changes verses lower level enhancements. In other words, keep in mind that a finished basement will get you a certain percentage back on the money you put into it, but the end value will not be impacted as much as had you expanded the main levels of the home.
Keep in mind, as our housing market continues to improve – we will tend to see more and more appraisals that may not reflect upon the current trends. This is primarily as a result of them using past sold data that may easily be a fair amount off from today’s prices.

For help with finding good comparable properties, rather than relying on outdated data from the Internet, contact us today. And as always, we welcome the opportunity to serve your every real estate need.