Once you get closer to finalizing the sale of your home, an appraisal will need to be conducted. Home appraisals impact both buyers and sellers, so here’s the key details you need to know.
What Are Home Appraisals?
A home appraisal is the professionally-conducted, unbiased evaluation of the true market value of your home. Home appraisals are conducted by professional home appraisers, who are certified professionals.
They have undergone rigorous training, coursework, and shadowed under another professional appraiser during their studies. Professional home appraisers are held to standards set by the Appraiser Qualifications Board, and often held to additional parameters depending on the state they work in.
Why is a Home Appraisal Necessary?
When selling your home, pricing it correctly from the start is key to ensuring you can help your listing perform strongly on the market, and also attract more serious buyers that can actually afford to close on your home.
Appraisals uncover the true selling price of your home, which helps ensure buyers aren’t paying too much or too little to purchase. As a seller, you can count on home appraisals to protect you from receiving less than your home is actually worth.
What Does a Professional Appraiser Look for When They Appraise My Home?
When a professional appraiser arrives to appraise your home, they are looking for key considerations affecting the value of the property, such as:
- The condition of the exterior of your home
- The interior condition of your home, on a room-by-room basis
- Any amenities in the home, like swimming pools, home additions, finished basements, and more
- Any safety violations or health hazards present in the home
The assessment of these areas of your property allow the appraiser to determine its value, as well as areas in need of repair and disclosure to prospective buyers. They’ll also compare your home to other, similar homes in your local area to help inform their estimate.
What Should I Do to Prepare for a Home Appraisal?
Beyond the usual cleaning and tidying up before anyone comes to see your home, there are other key steps you should take to get geared up for your home appraisal:
#1. Assess Your Home and Make Any Necessary Repairs
Before the appraisal appointment, it’s a good idea to conduct an assessment of your own home. Take a close look and identify any repairs or updates needed to appliances, systems, and other key areas of the home. Then, prioritize making these repairs and updates or upgrades prior to the appraisal appointment.
#2. Prepare All Documentation
If you’ve made updates to your home, like structural changes or the addition of amenities, make sure you have all related documents in one place. File them all together with receipts, documentation, dates the work was conducted, and other key notes related to everything you’ve added to your home.
#3. Tidy Up the Outside, Too
The exterior of your home is its very first impression to anyone who walks up to it. So help it shine and start your appraisal off on the right foot. Clean up any outdoor clutter, tidy up your yard, power-wash the exterior, and consider adding a fresh coat of paint. While professional appraisers are trained to see past less-than-ideal cosmetic conditions, it’s still a good idea to help keep their focus on your home’s true value.
What Happens After the Home Appraisal?
Once the appointment for the home appraisal is complete, the appraiser creates the official appraisal report. Aside from stating their assessment of the fair market price of the home, the appraisal report will also cover:
- The calculations leading to the conclusion of their valuation
- An overview of trends impacting the local market where your home is located
- The home’s characteristics and location information impacting the valuation
- Any property issues and defects identified during the appraisal
Generally, the appraisal report is delivered within two to seven business days.
What if the Appraisal Value of My Home is Lower than Expected?
If the findings of the appraisal show the value of your home to be lower than you expected, don’t panic. Remember, there are a host of external factors influencing the appraiser’s assessment and valuation; most notably, the local market and comparable homes in the area.
If you truly feel your home is a cut above others like yours in the neighborhood, or there was an egregious error, you’ll need to shift into negotiation mode.
First, you can see if a second opinion from another home appraiser can be requested. You’ll also want to have your real estate agent check if any appraisal contingencies were added into the contract with your potential buyer, which would lead you to reducing the price, or the buyer walking away from the deal altogether.
You have options in this scenario, and your real estate agent can walk you through the entire process. A top agent with deep expertise can help you with selling regardless of how your appraisial goes. You can get in touch with one in your area today on RealEstateAgents.com. Don’t wait — get hands-on help now.