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.