If you haven’t had an appraisal completed on your home recently, one of the first things that may come to your mind is, “What do I need to get ready for this?”. Here are some helpful things you can do prior to the appraiser coming to your home.
You don’t need to have the house cleaned: Appraisers try to view your home as a potential buyer. While it would be nice if every home was professionally cleaned and staged as if it were preparing for an open house, we inspect hundreds of homes per year and can look passed the “messy teenagers room” or the dishes in the sink.
List of updating and repairs: The appraiser is going to ask you about recent updating/repairs you have completed. It would be helpful if you think about this ahead of time and make a list of upgrades, estimated costs, and a general time frame of when each item was completed. Examples of items you would want to include: new windows, roof, furnace or central air conditioning, new flooring, kitchen and bath renovations, refinished basement, recent addition, etc. These types of updates reduce the “effective age” of the home which may help it appraise for a higher amount. You would also want to mention any special features or upgrades in your home.
Plat of Survey: If you have the plat of survey of your property, builder plans, or a recent floor plan, it would be helpful to have this available at the time of the appraisal. It is not necessary, but is often helpful especially with larger complex floor plans or irregular lot sizes. Also, if you have two PIN (Property Index Number) numbers let the appraiser know. This is not uncommon when the house sits on a double lot.
Information on recent similar sales in your neighborhood: If you are aware of a home in your neighborhood that is similar to yours and was recently sold as a private sale or FSBO, be sure to let them know. Also, if you have any information on similar sales in your neighborhood that are similar to yours but had extenuating circumstances (divorce, estate sale, pipe had burst and the house had major water damage, etc.), you will want to bring that to the appraiser’s attention. That information is often disclosed on the MLS, but not always so it never hurts to let them know.
Make sure the appraiser knows your neighborhood: While most appraisers will know your neighborhood, there are sometimes some intricacies that need to be pointed out. For example, those of you in Wilmette/Evanston area know that Isabella Street (while seemingly just an average side street) is a major boundary that separates New Trier school district from Evanston Township high school. If you are located on the north side of the street you are in New Trier and would not want to be compared to homes on the south side of the street.
Let your family know an appraiser is coming: Be sure to let everyone in your home know that the appraiser is coming and will need access to each room. All appraisers should ask if they can open all of the doors and it usually isn’t a problem. They just don’t want to surprise anyone. Also, make sure the appraiser can access all of the rooms as well as the scuttle to the attic if you have one.
HOA information in you live in a condo or PUD: The appraiser will want to know what your HOA fees are as well as the name and contact number for management company.
Complete any renovation projects prior to inspection: While minor renovations like installing carpet in a bedroom won’t make a big difference, if you have completely gutted your kitchen and removed all of the fixtures, that will most likely leading to a lower appraised value, or possibly a delay in the closing of your loan as the lender may wait to close the loan when the renovation is completed. If the appraisal is for an FHA loan you will want to read my blog post on “Most Common FHA Repair Items”.
This is an overview of things to help you in preparing for your real estate appraisal. If I can answer any questions or provide more guidance to you, please feel free to email me or call me at (847) 863-5776.