You only get one first impression so make it a good one. It is very difficult change the appraised value after an appraisal report is issue.
It is imperative that you, and your Realtor, provide as much up-front information as possible to help the Appraiser determine the correct the value.
Prepare for an Appraisal as a Seller
You need to prepare for an appraisal as a seller. This means putting your best foot forward and thinking like an Appraiser.
Obviously you need to clean your home and dress up the curb appeal. Treat the Appraiser like a potential buyer. Deliver the “wow” factor and manufacture a great first impression.
The real magic when preparing for an appraisal is doing your up-front homework.
- Appraised value vs. sales price – how to prepare for the worst
- Avoid appraisal pitfalls
- Don’t pay for the appraisal too soon
- Home appraisal process overview
Scheduling The Appraisal
You will have time to prepare for an appraisal as a seller. You will be notified once the appraisal is scheduled; however, we recommend preparing for the appraisal once you have an executed contract.
The mortgage lender will order the appraisal once the buyer signs and returns the initial loan disclosures. An Appraisal Management Company (AMC) will schedule the Appraiser’s inspection after the buyer pays for the appraisal.
The Appraiser will typically set an appointment via a Centralized Showing Service (CSS) in MLS. Appraisers gain entry into the home via the keypad that your Realtor places on the door. If you do not have a Realtor then the Appraiser will contact you directly for entry into the home.
Inspect Your Property
Inspect your home with an unbiased eye before the Appraiser’s visit. Look for anything alarming and address it immediately.
Appraisal inspections are not home inspections. Appraisers do not assess the home’s functionality and working condition; however, they are the lender’s eyes and ears. Appraisers are obligated to report any concerns that may warrant further inspection.
For example, an Appraiser may take pictures of cracks in the walls, notate that doors stick, and ultimately recommend a foundation inspection. This could be a significant inconvenience if those are benign and due to long-term settlement. Address alarming items before they become issues.
Let’s be very clear: we are not suggesting anyone mask known defects. We’re simply recommending that sellers address non-issues to remove the possibility of misinterpretation.
Create an Appraisal Packet
We recommend you create an informational packet for the Appraiser since you won’t be in direct contact with the Appraiser. Remember, it’s very difficult to fight a low appraisal. Do the up-front work and learn how appraised value is determined (because it’s not price per square foot).
Provide any information about the home and neighborhood that may influence value. The additional information is helpful and lends itself to a more accurate value assessment.
Provide Comps and Explanations
The Appraiser will compare your home to other homes that have recently sold in the neighborhood. These are call “comparable” homes (i.e. “comps”). The Appraiser will use MLS to determine how to determine the appraised value
Appraisers don’t know the backstories behind the neighborhood sales. Inform the Appraiser of distressed sales due to job loss, divorce, death, etc.. Leave any information about neighboring houses that may be relevant.
Don’t let discounted homes lower your appraised value. Appraisers may be able to dismiss those lower comps if other comps are available.
Provide Comps Not in MLS
Provide any recent sales that were not listed in MLS. Work with your Realtor to determine what information is available to the Appraiser. Let the Appraiser know of any For Sale By Owner homes, “pocket sale”, or new construction sales not on MLS.
We would highly recommend that you attempt to call those current owners (or past sellers) and see if you can get a copy of the Closing Disclosure (CD) so the Appraiser can use that comp.
List Your Home Improvements
Be sure to include a list of your home’s improvements and upgrades. Feel free to provide details descriptions of the material and costs.
This will ensure that the Appraiser is aware of all the amenities to the house. Let them consider every feature for the determination of value.
Other Related Articles
- AMCs: cost and impact on the appraisal process
- Appraisals requirements for various loan programs
- Types of appraisals and how to choose
- Appraisal reviews and second appraisals
- Appraisal waivers – because appraisals are not always required
- How is square footage measured
Previous: home appraisal process