You have an offer on your home, things are moving along and now, the appraisal has been scheduled. So now you are wondering how best to go about preparing your home for appraisal.
Your To-Do List
1. Safety requirements.
They might be small, but they are mighty important. Smoke/carbon monoxide alarms, and home security alarms, among other things are top of an appraisers check list. California State Law requires that all properties have CO (carbon monoxide) detectors installed in the main living areas on all levels. Also all water heaters require TWO straps. This may seem simple but if these are missing or not working in working order, the appraiser will have to make a return visit. This will cost time and money.
2. Time to sweat the small stuff.
Replace any burned out bulbs, yep, even those ones way up there. Oil up that squeaky hinge and take a screwdriver to that loose knob. Install shiny new doorknobs or faucets. Small things don’t add a lot in an appraisal, but they make a big impact. Every little bit helps.
3. Assemble a file of your improvements and upgrades.
Be sure to tell your appraiser about any improvements you’ve made in your home. Keeping a record of your repairs, maintenance and upgrades is always a good idea but especially important while preparing your home for appraisal. Before and after photos, receipts and other records will show proof of any upgrades that didn’t require city or county approval and won’t be noted in county records.
4. Clean, clean, clean!
A clean home is more appealing to appraisers and buyers alike. Clean the carpets and scrub the walls. Maybe take a few bags of unwanted items to the local donation center. Scrub down driveways and the exterior of your home. A clean space improves with overall appearance of your home as well as making the appraisal process smoother.
5. Check your outdoor space.
Mow the lawn and give your trees and bushes a trim. Dead trees? It might be worth having them removed before your appraisal to improve the overall appearance of your outdoor space. Add some color with flowers and brighten your flower beds with fresh mulch. Get rid of clutter from both the front, back and side yards, including toys, bicycles, and lawn furniture. Bonus: If you clear up the space around your property the appraiser will have an easier time accessing any outdoor areas he needs to check.
Things to Keep in Mind While Preparing Your Home for Appraisal
Have you looked into sales prices of homes sold in your area in recent months? Comps are the most important part of a home appraisal, and are the best way to estimate a home’s value. Appraisers will compare apples to apples homes in your area (number of bedrooms, number of bathrooms, square footage) and then look into upgrades and extras (pool, amenities, location of schools, etc.).
Look at your home with fresh eyes. Look for any damage that could decrease your home’s value. Are there loose floor boards? Does the roof leak? Do the gutters work properly? These issues might be red flags to an appraiser, causing them to look more critically at your home. Take care of these minor fixes before hand. As a rule of thumb, fix problems immediately that would cost less than $500 to fix. You don’t need to remodel your home but these small repairs can add up to a better appraisal.
Take a walk around the neighborhood. Are there new schools, parks, a big box store or maybe a new community pool that have been added since you bought the house? Share these updates with your appraiser. They may not be totally familiar with the area, and amenities such as these can add even more value to your property.
It can be a bit stressful, but if you follow a few simple steps, it can be a positive experience for everyone. Contact us today with any questions about your upcoming appraisal!