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  • Alexander Wissel

Appraisal Secrets Revealed: How to Do Everything You Can To Maximize Your Home's Value

Appraisal Power Moves

  • Readers will learn practical tips to help improve their appraisal outcomes.

  • The article provides guidance on finding comparable properties, highlighting unique features, and offering accurate floor plans.

  • It emphasizes the importance of cooperation, professionalism, and realistic expectations during the appraisal process.


Appraisal Secrets: Do Everything You Can To Maximize Your Home's Value - Source: Pexels.com
Appraisal Secrets: Do Everything You Can To Maximize Your Home's Value

While homeowners may not have much influence on the appraisal process itself, there are few appraisal secrets homeowners can do to potentially help improve their appraised value.


I’ve had plenty of conversations with appraisers over the years. In fact I’ve probably only missed meeting an appraiser on a handful of properties – mostly because the appraiser requested to be alone. I consider it a responsibility of a good listing agent to always meet at the home during an appraiser.

There is nothing that anyone can – legally – do to guarantee a home will appraise. In this article, we will explore some practical tips on how homeowners can assist the appraiser and potentially enhance their appraisal results.

To help improve your appraisal, you can assist by finding comparable properties and sharing their listings, emphasizing your home's unique features and upgrades, and providing accurate floor plans. Cooperation, professionalism, and realistic expectations are also crucial in making a positive impression on the appraiser.


How to Help Your Appraisal

I’m Sorry… There aren’t a lot of things you can do to affect your appraisal if your home isn’t going to appraise. If you paid a premium for a house without good comps then that’s on you and your agent. But there are a few things you can do to help the process and potentially help an appraisal that might be right on the edge.

Help Find Comparable Properties

One of the best things you can do to help an appraiser is to find and print the listings for comparable properties. If you used specific local comps to price your home that are still accurate, tell them about it.

Location, Location, Location


A good comparable property is a home that is within a short distance. In dense areas that may be a quarter mile, while in suburban or rural areas that may be 3 miles. Use the smallest radius from your home that fills 15-30 recent sales.


Timing


Try to chose homes that have sold in the past 3 months. If your neighborhood is unique, feel free to go back longer. The problem with that is if your market has moved quickly upwards. Appraisers do not like giving credits to adjust for time.

Size, Shape, Condition


Find a house with similar style, price point, upgrades and condition. If you have a Colonial, find other colonials. If you are fortunate enough to be in a neighborhood with similar homes built at the same time you will have an easier time finding comps. If your home is a one-off, unique or a custom build you might have difficulty finding comps.


If you’re having difficulty, always fall back to common sense. What is logical and makes sense. If you have a cape cod with no others, find cottages or similar small homes. If you have an old victorian, don’t compare it to a brand new house.

Finding good correct comps is one of the most important things in terms of finding the correct value when appraising a home.


Offers & Market


Sometimes it’s incredibly relevant to share details about the offers and showing activity on the home. I’ve shared things like ‘We had 80 showings in 3 days, we had 18 offers ranging from $XXX to $XXX.” These are pieces of information that help the appraiser show demand and give them insight into how hot the market is.

Highlight Your Home’s Features


After finding comparable properties, highlighting the property’s unique upgrades, updates, and features is the next best thing you can help with. If you don’t have an exact date, give an estimate. And put an estimate on how much each item cost.

So sell your home to the appraiser. Talk about your upgrades – especially things like insulation and updates that might not be quickly apparent. Put together a list of updates and improvements made to the home over the past few years.


Did you add new appliances, HVAC or heating/cooling systems? How about solar panels? Did you upgrade your closets with expensive organizers, or upgrade a laundry room? Note things that will stay with the home, so don’t worry about adding the hot-tub unless you’re leaving it.


Map it all Out

If possible have a architectural floorpan with accurate dimensions to give the appraiser. In our brokerage we do 3D Matterport virtual tours for every listing. The added bonus of that home scan is that we also are creating an accurate floor plan.


Part of the requirements of an appraisal is that they need to have a floorpan. Having one done that they can quickly check makes their job a lot easier. I can’t stress this enough with unique or contemporary homes.

Sometimes the tax websites are wrong on square footage, so having an accurate measurement is important – because every additional square foot means more dollars in value.


Offer Help – Don’t Demand

Consider that an appraiser has already picked out comps before they even get to the home. If you’re trying to help, be sure to gently offer your suggestions… Don’t ever tell an appraiser which comparable they must use. You don’t like people telling you how to do your job do you?

Appraisers recognize well kept homes, and homes that have been neglected. Like Realtors they see lots of properties and generally have a good sense of what a home is worth. So don’t think you’re going to pull a fast one, or that arguing will help.

If you make their job easier, chances are they are going to more willing to help you. On the flip side, Appraisers have more scrutiny and oversight than they ever have. If you don’t help them find value in your home, they aren’t going to risk their license to overinflated your property value.

How to Handle Meeting Your Appraiser


If you’re the one meeting the appraiser, at least be on time, being early is better. Just like a prospective buyer, having all the blinds open and the lights on will give a better impression for the appraiser. Present them with their copy your printed home information.

Consider the Appraiser visit like the most important showing possible. So all the rules on how to make your home look best here will matter. They will be able to look past a home that is in the process of being packed, but try to keep the home looking as tidy as possible.

Don’t give the appraiser any sob stories or hit them with any emotional guilt trips to get your value. “I need this home to sell so I can: afford cancer surgery, help my mom, adopt a child… “ Just don’t do it. Don’t tell them you expect it to appraise, or ask them to try to get the value higher.


I generally will ask them that “If they are having any issues, and want to ask me any additional questions to please give me a call.” It’s general enough and a genuine offer for help should they need more information. Most times I’ve had a home substantially under appraise I’ve never received a call.

The real secret is that you want them to walk into a house and say, “Yeah, I’d pay ‘purchase price’ for this home, it’s gorgeous.” If they have that kind of impression, they are going to make it happen.


Be Realistic & Take Cues from Them

Remember that today appraisers see contracts. They know what the purchase price is and they know contract details. If they see that you’ve waived your appraisal contingency, why would they work hard to find the value. I’ve been told this directly by multiple appraisers.

I’m a talker, and can talk a blue streak… so I’m alway trying to have a good conversation with every appraiser I meet. I learn a lot about what they are seeing and where the market is headed. I’ve also learned over the years that when an appraiser isn’t conversational and avoids talking, they already know they haven’t ‘found the value’ of the home. It’s not a good sign.


Remember that appraisers are professionals and that they are there do do a job. Over the past few years they have seen the amount they get per appraisal drop. They want to do their job and get it done efficiently.

The Biggest Appraisal Secrets


The biggest appraisal secret is there isn't a single panacea that will get your home to appraise. While you may not have full control over the outcome of their appraisal, there are proactive steps they can take to potentially improve their results.


Remember to provide relevant information, highlight your home’s unique features, and maintaining a cooperative and professional attitude. You, or your agent, can make a positive impact on the appraiser's perception of their property.

Remember, every little effort counts, so be prepared, be informative, and be ready to make your appraisal experience a success. Good luck!

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