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Home Appraisers: What to Expect

Getting a proper home appraisal is an essential step in the process of buying or selling a house, as it is the only way to determine your home’s true market value. That’s why it’s in your best interest to have the appraisal go as smoothly and easily as possible. Here’s how you can help.


Questions the Appraiser May Have


When a real estate appraiser comes to appraise your home, he or she may have some general questions about the property. You can help the appraisal process be as efficient as possible by having answers ready. Some questions you may receive include:


  • What is the purpose of the appraisal (to reach a listing price, dispute a tax bill, etc.)?

  • Is the property already listed for sale, and if so, what is the asking price?

  • Do you have a mortgage on the property, and is it a FHA or VA-backed mortgage?

  • If selling, what personal property will be included (refrigerator, drapes, etc.)?

  • If it is an income property, what are your income and expenses for it?


The appraiser may also want to see a copy of your deed, survey, or other pertinent documents, including property tax bills and special assessments on the property.



General Exterior Concerns


Having your property in its best condition helps your appraisal. Appraisers are, of course, only human, and they generally appreciate a tidy home. Your appraiser may look at construction materials and their condition. For the home's exterior, they will look at:


  • General exterior condition

  • Broken windows

  • Missing roof shingles

  • Falling gutters

  • General landscaping condition, presence of dead plants or overgrown grass



General Interior Concerns



Once inside, the appraiser will assess the following:


  • Floor type and condition

  • Wall coverings, including paneling, paint, wallpaper, and their conditions

  • Whether all kitchen appliances work

  • Condition of heating and air conditioning system

  • General signs of neglect, such as missing doorknobs, missing electrical covers, etc.

  • Condition of features such as fireplaces, patios, decks, porches, fences, swimming pool, security system, intercom system, etc.



Things You Can Do in Advance: Exterior


If your home is in good condition and appears as if it will show well, you will probably be placed at the upper end of a range the appraiser will determine from comparable properties nearby. The opposite is true as well: if it doesn’t show well, you may wind up on the lower end. You can help your house appraise as well as possible by taking the following steps to address its exterior:


  • Mulch flower beds

  • Add seasonal plants

  • Touch up or repaint the exterior

  • Repair broken windows, missing shingles, or loose gutters

  • Repair damaged deck or fence materials



Things You Can Do in Advance: Interior


You can also influence your appraisal to some extent by doing some simple work on the interior of your house:



  • Clean floors

  • Touch up paint and repair nail holes and other cosmetic blemishes

  • Repair or remove peeling wallpaper

  • Ensure all appliances work

  • Ensure the heating and air conditioning system works properly

  • De-clutter the entire house



If you are considering selling your house as a FSBO rather than listing it with a real estate agency, click here and you can get started on your listing right now!