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4 Tips For Getting A Higher Home Appraisal

Sean Bryant4-Minute Read
March 02, 2020

Have you considered selling your home? What about refinancing so that you can do some much-needed home improvements? If you have, one of the most important things standing between you and the money is your home appraisal.

If you’re not familiar with the basics of a home appraisal, it’s where a licensed individual comes into a home and gives their objective opinion on the value of the home. Lenders will use the home appraisal as a guide for whether or not to lend money for certain home purchases or refinances.

If you’re hoping to refinance your home and the home appraisal is less than you’d like, a couple of things can happen. If you have less than 20% equity in the home, you may be looking at higher interest rates and being required to have private mortgage insurance. If the home appraisal is too low, you might not even qualify for a refinance at all.

What Do Appraisers Look For?

Home appraisers are going to look at many different factors outside and inside the home. One of the biggest is going to be neighborhood comparables. How much are comparable homes selling for within your neighborhood? As an example, if homes of a similar size are selling for between $300,000 – $320,000 it’s going to be difficult to appraise for much higher than that range unless you have features that no other house has.

Once inside the home, the appraiser is going to look at the square footage as well as the number of bedrooms and bathrooms. They are also going to look at the upgrades that have been done to the home. Have you recently remodeled the bathrooms or kitchen? Have you installed any energy-efficient items like windows or a furnace? These types of things add value to a home and will help your overall appraised value.

One thing to keep in mind is that even though you might have installed high-end kitchen appliances or a new washer and dryer, these won’t add to the appraised value. Unless it’s nailed down, it’s considered personal property and can be taken with you when you move. However, even though these items aren’t factored into the home appraisal, they are still great for marketability when selling a home.

Have you started worrying that your home might not appraise for what you’d like? If so, then you can stop. With a little preparation, you’ll be able to make your home shine for the appraiser, boosting its value.

How Should I Prepare For A Home Appraisal?

Before you have a home appraisal done, you need to make sure it’s ready. Start by doing a deep cleaning of both the inside and outside of the home. You want to make sure the appraiser knows your home has been taken care of over the years.

Additionally, you’ll want to develop a critical eye. While you might think certain things look great, that might not be the case for others. Start being overly critical of things. Look for anything that might need to be fixed or updated. This will allow you to have the eye of an appraiser and not of a homeowner.

How Do I Get A Higher Appraisal Value?

Anytime you refinance or attempt to sell your home, you want it to appraise for as high as possible. To accomplish this, there are a few things you can do to help the appraiser out.

1. Have A List Of Improvements

Before the appraiser arrives, make a list of everything you’ve done to the home. List out the improvement made and the date when it was completed. Neighborhood comparables are a big consideration when appraising a home but when you can show a long list of improvements, it’s likely to look favorable in the appraiser’s final numbers.

2. Explain The Comparables

The appraiser will be able to pull the basic information on the size and price of recently sold homes in your area. What they won’t do is actually enter each home to see the condition. Other than from photos they won’t know if the kitchen was in need of an upgrade or if the flooring was showing some wear and tear.

Before the appraiser arrives, make sure you’ve done your research on the properties that have sold in your area over the past 6 months. If a home sold for less than you’d like yours to appraise for, understand why. Did it have structural issues or outdated bathrooms? This is the information you’ll want to share with your appraiser so they have a better understanding of why your home should be valued higher.

3. Spruce Up The Exterior

The outside of your home is the first thing the appraiser is going to see when they arrive. Make sure their first opinion is a good one. If the weather is nice, make sure the grass is nicely mowed, and have a few well-placed flower pots to add some color. You can also put down a fresh layer of mulch to spruce things up.

4. Don’t Smother The Appraiser

While you might want to follow the appraiser around to make sure they see everything that’s great about your home, smothering them can be a big red flag. It can make it seem like you have something you’re trying to hide. Instead, when they arrive, you can give them an overview of the home, explain the improvements you’ve made, and talk about the neighborhood. Then let the appraiser do their job.

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    Sean Bryant

    The Rocket Homes blog is here to bring you all you need to know about buying, selling and making the most of your home. Whether you’re thinking about becoming a homeowner, selling your current home or looking to keep your place in tip-top shape, our writers and freelancers bring their experience and expertise to meet you right where you are.