10 tips from an Appraiser for a stress free appraisal inspection

The appraisal is often a stressful element in a real estate sale as it can sometimes throw a serious wrench in the transaction occurring as planned. Here’s a handy Consumer Guide to getting ready for your home appraisal inspection.

When an appraisal comes in lower than the agreed upon sales price, the buyers and sellers must renegotiate, or the buyer would need to pay for the difference in cash or the seller may have to start over. There are options to minimize some of this stress such as obtaining a pre-listing appraisal and/or selecting a realtor with good analytical skills and expertise in the local market who can advise you in listing your home at its true market value.

However, once you are at the point where the lender orders the appraisal, here are 10 helpful suggestions to getting the home ready for the appraiser’s visit.

  1. A good start is setting the right tone when the appraiser calls to set the appointment. Appraiser’s are usually on a deadline to submit the report to the lender within a few days. In the spring and summer months they are booked up, so return their call promptly and make the property accessible so you can close on time.
  2. It may be helpful for you to know that while the appraiser requires access to the property, they don’t usually need anyone to be present during the inspection. If need be, give them special instructions on how to access the property so to avoid delays.
  3. Let her (or him) know about any issues with the property or major updates, additions, remodels etc. This will ensure that the neighborhood sales that are comparable to the subject are selected for analysis. Having a written or printed list of recent improvements to the property that they can take with them can be helpful. Some appraisers may have a form for you to fill out that will help them gain insight into the maintenance of the home.
  4. If possible provide them with a survey, executed purchase agreement, building plans, HOA information and management company contact information.
  5. For new construction homes, let them know the phase of construction.
  6. As a routine part of the inspection, the appraiser will test a sample of the mechanics and plumbing, so the electricity and water need to be turned on. Prior to the appraiser arriving, make sure the appropriate heating or cooling system is running, so the appraiser can confirm that these mechanics are operational.
  7. The appraiser will be taking pictures of all the rooms. Make sure all areas of the home are accessible and well-lit for better picture quality.
  8. Upon arrival they will inspect, measure and take pictures of the exterior and then enter the home to complete the sketch and floor plan to include any upstairs living area, photograph all the rooms, test a sample of mechanics and plumbing.
  9. While the cleanliness of your home is not given consideration in their value estimate, its good form to tidy up a bit if possible.
  10. If you had multiple offers or any other matter that influenced the sale, let the appraiser know upfront.

And that is it, easy breezy. The appraisal inspection of your home is complete. From there they will move on to survey the neighborhood for external factors, take pictures of comparable homes that have recently sold and work on the report. The key is to communicate and provide access and data as required in a timely manner to avoid any delays.

This Consumer Guide to Home Values and Appraisals are for Homeowners, Buyers and Sellers. Please subscribe and share.

Gynell Vestal

Certified Residential Appraiser, Gynell has a diverse appraisal background covering Commercial, Residential, Rural, Complex and Luxury Properties as well as National Appraisal Review work in the secondary Market. She began her Appraisal training in Oklahoma in 2001 covering Rural and Commercial Properties. With several years as a National Review Appraiser at Fannie Mae and other big banks, Gynell has keen insight into the secondary market guidelines and requirements.

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