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.
Because most appraisals require a photo of each room, a well-kept property really helps. Put yourself in the appraiser’s shoes and consider that an appraiser can’t evaluate what they can’t see. When your home is cluttered it will make it that much harder for an appraiser to notice your home’s important characteristics. What homeowners want to do is make their property easily accessible to an appraiser both inside and out. You’ve heard the saying, “beauty is in the details.” If you think an appraiser won’t look in a tool shed or unfinished basement, for example, think again. Keeping those areas well-organized and straightened is in your best interest. And you never know if the appraiser will be allergic to animals or not. If you’re a pet owner, it’s better to have your pet spend the day somewhere else.
Common sense will tell you an appraiser is to focus on the house and not the homeowner but it doesn’t hurt to be welcoming and friendly. While the appraiser is there you should accompany him or her through your home and be available to answer any questions the appraiser might have. It’s better to answer the questions honestly as skirting their questions will only raise their suspicions.
Accompanying the appraiser through your home also helps the appraiser to understand the floor plan and gives you the peace of mind that comes with knowing whether or not the appraiser is doing their job appropriately, putting your mind at ease about any theft or unacceptable behavior either.
If you’re in the process of refinancing and have a home appraisal in your future, it’s best to clear out the clutter in your home as soon as possible. Have your carpets professionally cleaned, burn scented candles, arrange books, magazines and knick knacks, restock your flower beds with new mulch, trim the bushes and touch up any paint or siding as though you are preparing your home for a “Better Homes and Gardens” photo shoot. Efforts like these would make anyone, including an appraiser, feel welcome and comfortable in your home.