Appraisal Tips for Success
Before banks or lending institutions can consider loaning money for a property, they need to know the current market value of that property. The job of an appraiser is to check the general condition of your home and determine a comparable market value based on other homes in your area. This is required for any buy or sell situation.
To help make the appraisal as smooth as possible and ensure you are getting top market value, check out the tips below:
Clean Up: The appraiser is basing the value of your property on how good it looks. A good rule of thumb is to treat the appraisal like an open house! Stage it as you would a home for sale, clean and declutter every room, vacuum, and scrub – even consider adding a fresh coat of paint - to ensure your home is as presentable and appealing as possible. Where applicable remove personal stigma items such as alcohol or drug paraphernalia, any controversial pictures or flags, etc.
Curb Appeal: First impressions can have a huge impact when it comes to an appraisal. Spending some time ensuring the outside of your property from your driveway entrance to front step is clean and welcoming can make a world of difference. Cut grass, water plants, maybe add flowers or hanging baskets to make things feel inviting and stage the yard with some lawn furniture to make it look like its own space.
Visibility: The appraiser must be able to see every room of the home, no exceptions. YES, every single room including outbuildings, garage, closets, basement… Refusal to allow an appraiser to see any room can cause issues and potentially kill your deal. If there are any issues with any spaces of your home, be sure to take care of them in advance to allow the appraiser full access. NOTE: If there are tenants in your home, ensure you give them appropriate amount of notice for access.
Upgrades and Features: Ensuring the appraiser is aware of any upgrades and features can go a long way. Make a list and include everything from plumbing and electrical to new floors, new appliances, etc. This way they have a reference as to what has been updated and how recent or professional that work was done. Knowing the age of the roof and HVAC items like water tank is important. Also, ensure the breaker box is MIN 100amps as most lenders cannot finance a home with amps under 100; older homes from the 1930 area are generally only 60amps. The same goes for knob and tube versus breaker set-ups. Upgrading is important and will add value.
Be Prudent About Upgrades: While the bathroom and kitchen are popular areas, they are not necessarily the be-all-end-all for getting a higher home value. These renovations can be quite costly so it is a good idea to be prudent about how you spend your money and instead, focus on easy changes such as new paint, new light fixtures or plumbing and updated flooring to avoid breaking the bank while still having your home look fresh. Removing clutter, adding a new coat of paint and doing a deep clean will help make these spaces shine.
Know Your Neighbourhood: You already know where you live better than the appraiser. Taking a look at similar homes in your neighbourhood and noting what they sold for will give you a ballpark. If your appraisal comes in low, you will be prepared to discuss with the appraiser the examples from your area and why you believe you property is worth more. In addition, keep in mind that appraisal values are based on recent sales data; if there have been zero sales in the area recently and time allows it, hold off on getting an appraisal done until some sales have been evident to ensure you’re getting the most value.
Be Polite: The appraiser is there to get in and get out so let them have the run of the house while they are there. Do not follow them around and avoid asking them too many questions or making too many comments and simply be prepared should they have questions. Once they have completed the review of your home, that is a good time to bring up any comments you might have. Remember, the actual onsite inspection usually is only 15 minutes through the house but typically, the bulk of work for appraisals is at the desk, reviewing sales and other forms of research to create the appraisal report.
Know The Costs: Every appraiser charges differently. If the lender allows for ordering appraisals direct, then I can shop around and fetch you the best price.
Don’t forget to contact me if you have any questions about your existing home or mortgage, or if you are looking to sell and relocate in the future!
*Article courtesy of Mortgage Centre Canada