Appraisers take many factors into account when they determine the worth of a property. While some things, such as location, can't be helped, there are several others that a homeowner can do to make sure that his home is appraised for the maximum value.
1. Have Information Available
Appraisers don't spend a lot of time in the home. In fact, the pros inspect hundreds of homes per year, and it becomes pretty easy to quickly assess the amenities. That is not much time to make a good first impression, so make sure your ducks are in a row upon the appraiser's visit.
First, make sure you have a packet of information that you can give the appraiser as he hurries out the door after the inspection. This packet should contain the basics about the home, and anything that will help back up the offer that you accepted.
Have your Realtor include a fact sheet about the home with the address, the year it was built, square footage, number of beds and baths, and the size of the lot. Also, have your Realtor leave a CMA (Comparative Market Analysis) including a listing of recent sales in the area. The appraiser does has access to recent home sales, but there's always a chance that he may miss something.
Make a list of improvements you've made to the home. List them by date and include contact information for the contractor who did the work.
2. If It's Broken, Make Sure to Fix It
The appraiser assigns your home with what is known as an "effective age." This is largely based on the condition of the home and how well you have maintained it. This age may be older or younger than its actual age. If you have a cracked window, worn out floors, or outdated kitchen tiles, this could add up to a lower-than-average condition rating as the home's effective age will be higher resulting in comparables being utilized which will have the same effective age and resulting lower value. Therefore, fix anything that will age the home in the eyes of the appraiser!
3. Give your House a Cleaning
Most appraisers will tell you that it doesn't matter if your home is dirty or clean, and that it has no bearing on its value. Of course, we all know that illusions can sell, and if a clean house gives the illusion that the home is well-maintained, you might as well clean it before the appraiser arrives.
Overgrown landscaping, soiled carpeting, marks on walls, etc. all affect value and are part of the property's overall condition, and will be considered with the value.
While some things impact a home's value more than others, the bottom line is that the process can vary by appraiser. Anything you can do in the three areas listed above has the potential to streamline the appraisal process and increase the value of your home. Plus, going through these steps prior to listing your home will only help increase the number of potential buyers. And ultimately, selling your home is what it's all about.