Three Ways to Prepare for the Appraiser

Appraiser Tips

It’s amazing that a mere 30-minute visit to a home can determine whether or not a sale will go through. That’s the reality, however, of the home appraisal process.

This means you have a half hour to convince this lender-provided arbiter of your home’s market value that it truly is worth what your buyer is willing to pay for it. Now, you can’t do anything about the foreclosure next door that will drag down your value, but there are other considerations that may help ensure a successful appraisal.

  1. Ensure the appraiser has the correct information

As you can imagine, the appraiser is on a whirlwind tour of your home and may not take the time to chat with you. Therefore, you need something you can hand to him or her to peruse back at the office before the numbers get crunched.

Gather as much information as you have about not only your home, but about neighboring homes that have sold recently. It may seem silly to have to remind someone that just visited your home that you have three bedrooms and two bathrooms, but it’s far from it. Public records get these items wrong surprisingly often so ensure that the appraiser has accurate information.

If you happen to know of a compelling reason that a neighbor sold for less than he should have, include that reason in your information packet. Finally, if you’ve made improvements to the home, mention them.

  1. Clean the house

At the very least, clean the house before the appraiser arrives. While a sink full of dirty dishes and laundry piled on the sofa won’t necessarily knock down the value of the home, a clean house is perceived as one that has been well-maintained.

Dirty carpets and walls and overgrown landscaping, on the other hand, do affect the home’s value, according to Dean Zibas, of Zibas Appraisal in San Clemente, Calif.

“It’s important to realize, though, that a dirty or unkempt home can increase its appearance of wear and tear beyond normal, and that condition can, in fact, affect value,” agrees Certified residential appraiser Ralph J. Vaccari, of Marblehead, Mass.

Do what you can to make the house look as if it’s always been impeccably maintained.


  1. Repairs

All of the aforementioned problems with the home, as well as things like cracked glass in windows, torn vinyl flooring, missing tiles in the bathroom and ratty carpets will count against what appraisers call the home’s “effective age.”

These items could still add up to an overall average condition rating as the home is still habitable, however your effective age will be higher resulting in comparables being utilized which will have the same effective age and resulting lower value,” Doreen Zimmerman, author of “Challenge Your Home Appraisal,” tells the Wall Street Journal.

It’s typically the small repairs that will age the home in the eyes of the appraiser so get those items fixed before he or she arrives to perform a visual inspection.

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