The home appraisal. It’s why so many homebuyer’s sweat bullets during the buying or selling process. The last thing a person wants is to lose a mortgage because of a low appraisal when buying or selling a home. Here are some steps to take for getting a fair appraisal.
Professionals are Best for Serious Home-buying Needs
While automated valuation websites like Zillow, HomeGain and Trulia are a convenient and quick way of getting a ballpark figure of the worth of homes in certain areas, they shouldn’t be used when you’re buying or selling a home. Websites like these can only give an estimate because the figures are based on a limited amount of information. It’s okay to use websites like these when you’re at the beginning of your home search but turn to professionals when things turn more serious.
If you’re serious about buying a home, it’s best to work with a real estate agent who can prepare a competitive market analysis (CMA) or provide a broker’s price opinion before you make an offer on a property. Proactive home owners who are looking to sell their homes often have their own appraisal done before pricing their homes. This is especially helpful in a market where prices are fluctuating or where there are a lot of foreclosures. An appraisal usually costs $1,000 or less. Homeowners use appraisals to guide their pricing decisions and as a reference to compare to the appraisal done by the buyer’s lender.
Homestead uses Qualified Appraisers
At Homestead we work with qualified licensed appraisers and homebuyers with the goal of getting a fair appraisal of the home. Our appraisers have residential appraiser certifications as well as professional designations. Home buyers and sellers will work with appraisers who have the Appraisal Institute’s senior residential appraiser (SRA) and member of the Appraisal Institute (MAI) designations.
The appraiser should be familiar with the local market in order to arrive at a fair appraisal. To insure a fair appraisal, Homestead works with appraisers who come from the same county or neighboring county.
For home owner’s selling their homes, it’s important to meet the appraisal when your home is inspected. Be sure to share the appraisal you had done or the CMA from your real estate agent. You’ll want to share all the upgrades and improvements you’ve made to the home with the appraiser. If you are aware of any important pending neighborhood improvements like commuter rail lines, shopping centers, parks, roads or schools, you’ll want to provide that information to the appraiser as well. New companies moving to the area or major employers that are expanding are also important items for appraisers to know about and consider as they are assessing the value of your home.
When you’re selling your home you’ll want to do as much as you can to get the highest appraisal so the buyer can get necessary financing to meet your asking price. When a low appraisal occurs, both the buyer and seller should question it. Double check the paperwork to make sure short sales and foreclosures weren’t used as comps and make sure all improvements made to the home were taken into account. Unintentional human error and oversights happen. If a second appraisal is necessary, be sure to ask for a current comp that reflects the current real estate market conditions.
Spring is the busiest real estate buying season and if your home is on the market you might be a little stressed wanting your home and your “curb appeal” to look amazing. With so much rain and cooler temperatures in the Midwest, it may be tempting to let the outside appearance of your home slide until the warmer and dryer weather comes. Here are some ways for attracting buyers and increasing your homes curb appeal despite the weather. Continue reading “Attracting Buyers: Increasing Your Home’s Curb Appeal”
Good news. Your real estate agent just called with a buyer who would like to see your house. Trouble is, there’s only so much your real estate agent can do and it’s up to you to make your home as presentable and attractive as possible, with the goal of engaging the buyer emotionally. Here are some tips for showing your home. Continue reading “Tips for Showing Your Home to Buyers”
In “Getting Ready for Home Appraisal – Part I” we explored the importance of having the right mindset and having your paperwork in order when it comes to preparing for your home’s appraisal. This week we’ll examine other important ways you can get ready for your home’s appraisal.
A big part of preparing for a home appraisal is having your home in order and the time to have any corrections and repairs made to your home is beforehand. Even if you intend to have repairs made but haven’t had time to complete them, having proof of an estimate or scheduled repair to show the appraiser can work to your advantage. Though you and your family may have lived for months with a leaky faucet, damaged window screens, dead smoke detectors or in rooms with poor paint jobs, leaving these maintenance jobs undone can dent the appraisal value of your home. And don’t underestimate the power of curb appeal. A tidy lawn and clean landscape may be the first impression an appraiser has of your home. Continue reading “Getting Ready for Home Appraisal – Part Two”
When the time comes to get ready for a home appraisal it’s important to keep in mind there are factors you can and cannot control. While you can’t control the location of your neighborhood and the value of other homes on your block, you can control what the appraiser sees when he walks up to the front door. Like many things in life, good preparation, careful attention to detail and a dose of fortunate circumstances all play a role in successful home appraisals and there’s a lot you as a homeowner can do to give yourself the best chance for a favorable appraisal. Here are some tips. Continue reading “Getting Ready for a Home Appraisal – Part One”
With home values and home equity taking a beating the last five years, many homeowners are left wondering if there is anything they can do to increase the value of their home and their home equity. While there are some ways to increase your home’s value, many cost more than what you’ll gain, especially if you contract out the work. However, if you’re willing and able to do the work yourself, your “sweat equity” can boost the value of your home and increase your home’s equity. Despite the current economy, now is a good time to do home improvements since interest rates are at historic lows and contractors are scrambling for work. Provided you plan to stay in your home for a number of years and you do the right home improvements, you could enhance your home’s value when home prices recover.
Continue reading “Increasing Your Home’s Value and Equity”
You put your home on the market several months ago but your neighbor’s home sold faster than yours. Why? Because they followed their realtor’s advice, making their home “sparkle.” Realtors know that it takes a lot more than a new roof for buyers to feel comfortable buying a home. When buyers see a well-cared for home, they are often correct that what they can’t see is most likely maintained too. So how do you as a homeowner make your home sparkle? Here are some tips for getting your house ready to sell.
Continue reading “Getting Your Home Ready to Sell”
Home is the stage for many of life’s most treasured memories. The front porch is where your husband carried you over the threshold. The living room floor is where your son took his first steps. The weeping willow tree in the back yard is where your daughter posed on her graduation day. Put it all together and it’s easy to see how our homes are literally a member of the family. And when it comes to downsizing, it’s also easy to see how emotionally attached we’ve grown to our homes. Selling our homes is like putting our hearts on a plate and crushing it, especially when potential buyers criticize. But it’s all part of the game. The game of buying and selling houses that is. Buyers want to get the lowest price and sellers want to get the highest price, leaving real estate agents the challenge of getting both parties to meet somewhere in the middle. Emotions can get in the way and prevent home sellers from making good financial decisions. Here are some tips to help home sellers from making costly emotional mistakes.
Continue reading “3 Most Common Mistakes When Selling Your Home”