Preparing for an appraiser’s visit

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Homeowners unfamiliar with the appraisal process might not know if there is anything they can do to make the process go more smoothly. While certain variables involved in the appraisal process, such as location of the home and the value of surrounding homes, are beyond homeowner’s control, the Appraisal Institute recommends homeowners take the following steps before an appraiser visits their home.

Clean the house. A dirty home that is full of clutter will not make the best impression on appraisers. Dirty homes may be vulnerable to insect infestations that can lead to structural problems with the home. While a dirty home is not necessarily an indicator of infestations or a reflection of a home’s value, a clean home will create a stronger first impression with the appraiser.

Make any necessary repairs ahead of the appointment. Homeowners who have been putting off repairs should make them before the appraiser arrives. Homes with repairs that still need to be made will likely be valued less than similar homes with no such repair issues. Though repairs can be costly, investing in home repairs will likely increase both the appraisal and resale value of the home.

Obtain all necessary documents before the appraiser arrives. Homeowners who have certain documentation at the ready can speed up the appraisal process. Such documentation may include a survey of the house and property; a deed or title report; a recent tax bill; if applicable, a list of items to be sold with the house; purchase history of the home; and the original plans and specifications of the home.

Inform the appraiser about recent improvements. Homeowners can inform appraisers about any recent improvements to the home and the cost of those improvements. The value of home improvements with regard to a home’s appraisal value vary depending on a host of variables, but having such information at the ready can help appraisers make the most informed appraisal possible. (MS)

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