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Getting Ready for a Home Appraisal – Part One

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.

The Steps to a Great Home Appraisal

First, start with the right mindset by approaching your home’s inspection as though you are selling the property to the appraiser. You shouldn’t assume the appraiser will be able to determine all the amenities of your home on their own. Like preparing for an exam, it’s a good idea to ask the appraiser if there is anything you should do or have prepared for them when they arrive at your home. This not only ensures the appraiser is working with all the relevant facts to properly conduct an appraisal, it also helps to guard against any unnecessary delays when it comes to completing your home’s appraisal.

Second, make sure you have your paperwork in order. Seems everything involves paperwork these days. Fortunately, by paperwork we’re not referring to forms to fill out, but records you should gather. It’s a good idea to have the following on hand:

  • A list of home improvements and the related receipts to back it up. Rather than having to guess each improvement’s worth, receipts will empower an appraiser to identify the full value of a home improvement. Even if you think it’s only a small or minor improvement, you should include it. Small repairs add up over time. It’s especially important to include things like energy-efficient items, smart-home features, irrigation system, air conditioning systems, a new roof and a new or updated electrical system.
  • Contrary to what many homeowners might think, appraisers aren’t equipped with a blueprint of your home. Providing them with a list of the number of bathrooms, bedrooms and other important rooms in your house is essential especially when an appraiser could mistake a room for a closet when it actually is not. Depending on your home’s location, it’s also important to tell the appraiser if there is a parking space associated with your property.
  • You should also be prepared to provide the appraiser with building plans, land titles, your most recent property tax bill, recent appraisals, home inspection reports, a Certificate of Occupancy and copies of any agreements with neighbors when it comes to shared resources. A Certificate of Occupancy is especially relevant if your property was converted from one use to another and states the legal permissible occupancy of such a residential property.
    The majority of appraisers make it their business to gather as much information as possible from a variety of sources but having official documents and receipts handy certainly doesn’t hurt. In “Getting Ready for Home Appraisal – Part II” we’ll take a look at three more ways to prepare for a home appraisal.