Appraisals Count For a Lot When Selling Your Home
A key aspect of the home buying and selling process is obtaining a home appraisal. A home appraisal is secured to estimate market value and can be quite complex. Recently there has been a change in the home appraisal process, resulting in more regulation, so work with your lender to confirm you have an experienced and knowledgable appraiser reviewing your home.
When selling your home, your appraisal can affect the home sales price, so make sure you know your “comps.” “Comps” are simply market comparisons that reflect other homes that have sold in your neighborhood, zip code, and area. It is absolutely imperative (trick #1) that your listing agent prepare a really professional market comparison that you can provide to the appraiser when he is about to do your appraisal. Often homes sold as For Sale By Owner (FSBO) may not be included by appraisers, which can alter statistics they use to determine your home’s value. Of course, if you’ve hired a great listing agent to sell your home then as part of the process of setting your home’s value you should already have studied and agreed that your home is priced competitively and accurately.
Next, look at your home as though you were a home buyer, as checking that your home appears well-maintained is vital. Spend some time cleaning the home entrance and painting as necessary to spruce up the entry, making your best first impression. The rest of your home should be clean and clutter-free, as well. Although the appraiser isn’t really supposed to take “cleanliness” into account when doing his valuation, he or she is just human, and is more likely to see your home in its best possible light if it’s well prepared.
Appraisers Look For Differences in Homes to Arrive at Your Home’s Value
More importantly though, you need to create a “value-added” list of things that make YOUR home distinct. Whether it be its size and views, or the condition of your property as compared to others in your neighborhood or any upgrades you may have made, these need to be explained to the appraiser. Be sure to be respectful as you review these and other details regarding your property. Review the information the appraiser has brought and suggest revisions if needed to account for changes you have made or errors in the report regarding your location (check the zip code!).
Trick #2 is a difficult one. You see, the new appraisal rules provide that you can no longer choose the appraiser you want. Because of that appraisers may be assigned to your home valuation that do not really know the area. Your job, and your listing agent’s job, is to make sure the appraiser gets to “know your neighborhood” through the information you provide. You can’t just slam it down their throats, of course. Again, your listing agent is your biggest asset here. Done correctly the appraiser will learn about your neighborhood without being put off by you, and you’ve got a much better chance of ending up with an appraisal that is correct.
How Long Do Appraisals Take?
Trick #3 is just as important as the appraisal itself. Once the buyer signs the purchase contract there is a loan and appraisal contingency that usually has 17 days to be completed. Believe me, as the seller, you want to make sure that the buyer gets right on getting the appraisal ordered, and that your listing agent stays on top of seeing that it gets to the top of the buyer’s priority list. Once completed, an appraisal may take several weeks before you can request a copy. It is wise to do so, however, to verify that the appraisal is accurate. Ask your lender and follow the appropriate appeals process if you feel there are errors or omissions that would affect your property’s value. Appeals, as just mentioned, are pretty difficult to win these days, even if you’re right. So try to work with your listing agent to get your comps and values in order before you list, provide them to the appraiser professionally, and then stay on top of the process. The buyer’s loan is important to the buyer….but perhaps more important to you.
By Don Reedy
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