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How to Prepare for the Home Appraisal

How to prepare for the home appraisal You’ve finally found the ideal buyer and accepted their offer. It’s a done deal with the exception of one last requirement: the appraisal. This assessment of your home’s worth is vital because it determines whether the buyer’s lender approves their mortgage or not. After all, banks will not release the loan if the appraised value of a property is less than the requested mortgage amount. How do you ensure that the appraisal proceeds smoothly? And more importantly, how do you get the maximum valuation for your home? 

Double down on safety

Many sellers fixate on the cosmetic aspect of their home and completely overlook its security features. Busted door locks, inactive smoke detectors, and broken burglar alarms are major red flags because they signify a major lapse in basic home maintenance—not only do they age your home, they also endanger future owners. Fixing these problems takes very little time and money, so address them ASAP. If you have wiggle room in your budget, consider installing a smart home security system to upgrade and modernize your home and increase its value further.

Deep clean your home

Giving your house a thorough cleaning ahead of an appraisal is one of the smartest and easiest things you can do to boost its value. Simply put, a clean house is worth more in the eyes of an appraiser. After all, cleaning is a crucial part of maintenance, and well-maintained homes fetch higher prices in the open market. Pay special attention to oft-neglected spots like ceiling corners and cabinet interiors. You can also rent a power washer to deep clean both your walls and your driveway.

Mind the little things

Wear and tear is an inescapable part of homeownership, and appraisers will be on the lookout for any signs of disrepair in your home. Now is the time to inspect your house to identify little niggles that need repairs, such as leaky faucets, faulty cabinet doors, missing roof shingles, and loose floorboards. Keep in mind the Rule of $500 when deciding whether a fix is worth the money: if it costs less than $500 to repair, you can easily recoup that cost in the appraisal.

Up your curb appeal

First impression matters, whether it’s a buyer or appraiser who’s looking at your home. That’s why curb appeal matters so much when it comes to appraisals. In fact, revamping your landscaping can boost your home’s value by up to 12%. And you don’t have to go all out—even replanting your lawn and trimming surrounding trees can immediately make your home look more appealing. While you’re at it, consider repainting exterior walls, replacing your front door, and renovating your roof as well.

Ask for comps

The condition of your home is only half of what determines its value; the other half depends on the market rate of properties in your area. Luckily, your listing agent can put together a report that lists the closing prices of recently sold properties comparable to yours (called “comps”). Take a look at the listings’ condition, specs, and features to see how your home stacks up. Comps can give you a clear idea of your house’s fair market value, which in turn can inform your asking price. It can also give you an idea of which upgrades or renovations added the most value to the sold homes.

Pitch your property

Hyping up your home doesn’t end with open houses and showings—you should be ready to talk up your property during the appraisal, too. Point out all the upgrades you did, such as putting in energy-efficient appliances or converting a spare room into a home office. Even seemingly minor things, like replanted lawns or new carpets and drapes, can raise your home’s worth so don’t be shy about mentioning them. A great tip is to print out a one-page summary of all the improvements you’ve made so your appraiser is aware of them. Remember: if you don’t pitch your property, who will?

Highlight the neighborhood

Buying a house also means buying into a neighborhood. That’s why during the appraisal, you should also discuss why your community is so great. Is it near great schools, shopping centers, and transportation depots? Likewise, highlight future developments that might raise your home’s value, such as planned highways or business hubs. Pointing out these aspects is important because not all appraisers are locals, so they might not know about the features or development plans in your neighborhood. The appraisal is a crucial part of the home buying process and the tips above should help you get top dollar for your property. If you need help with selling your house, just give the Page Morgan Team a call at 770.509.0700 / 770.579.5650 or send us an email at info(at)pagemorgan(dotted)com.