When an appraiser inspects your property for an appraisal he will look at the overall site, walk around the house, measure the exterior dimensions and take exterior pictures. Then an interior inspection will be next with pictures in every room and notes regarding the physical characteristics, special features, upgrades and condition of the property. The appraiser will be evaluating the quality of construction and condition of the improvements to see if it is at the upper, mid or low part of the range of houses found in your neighborhood. Sales comparables are then chosen based on this evaluation. It is extremely important for homeowners to be prepared as this is the one shot you have tke the best impression and achieve the highest value.
1. Cleanliness - Spruce the house up. Sweep exterior walks, porches, and decks, vacuum the floors, tidy up the kitchen and bath areas. Dirty carpeting, marks on the walls, and overgrown landscape affect value and are part of the overall condition rating.
2. Repairs - Fix the things on your "Honey Do" list that have been piling up. Touch up peeling paint, repair sagging fence and deck gates, replace missing handrails, leaky faucets, broken windows and drywall.
3. Upgrades - Have a list of upgrades performed (especially kitchen and bathrooms) over the past 15 years and the approximate date completed. A list of the special features of the property that might not be obvious to the appraiser is also recommended. Have a copy of an old appraisal or better yet, the construction plans, if available. The appraiser can double check his measurements and avoid a re-inspection to clear up inconsistencies.
4. Sales Comparables - Don't worry about gathering a bunch of recent sales that come from the local MLS, this is the appraiser's job. Information on "for sale by owner" transactions in your neighborhood could be helpful as the local MLS does not report these sales. Also distressed sales and unusually high or low sales may have extenuating circumstances such as sales concessions to the buyer, or extremely good or poor quality and condition. These circumstances may not be known to the appraiser and this information could explain this unusual sales data.
Let the appraiser do his job. Give him a chance to make his tour and, once completed, this is the time to ask him questions and tell him about anything you think may have a positive impact on your property value.