One of the first things you should do if you are getting ready to sell your home is to get it appraised by a licensed, reputable and experienced real estate appraiser; in fact, many real estate agents require that you do this in order to ensure your home is selling for the fair market value as compared to other homes in your particular housing market. Look at it this way; it’s already difficult enough to sell a piece of real estate right now, if you over-price your home you will be sitting on it for much longer than you have to.
Here’s the deal with real estate appraisals, the higher they are the higher you can ask for your home. But keep in mind that this housing market is much different than it was in previous years so you want to make sure it compares to what other homes are going for in your market. That’s one of the things an appraiser does, they research what they call the comparables, or comps. This will also help ensure you aren’t putting your home on the market for less than you can get. Another reason you must hire a real estate appraiser is that you probably haven’t had the value of your home appraised since your mortgage lender made you when you first purchased it. Without knowing what your house is truly worth, you’ll be flying in the dark when you try to sell it.
Ok, so now you know why you need a real estate appraiser, but what can you do to get a higher appraisal? Read on my friends and you shall find out.
First start off with a clean slate, and by that I mean give your home a good old-fashioned cleaning. Strictly speaking this doesn’t affect the value of your home, but appraisers are people to and the better you present your real estate the better frame of mind the real estate appraiser will be in. Besides, it’s just plain embarrassing to have a stranger walk through a messy house.
Repair any damage to your home. While real estate appraisers are only required to report damage to homes when the mortgage loans are insured by the Federal Housing Administration (FHA), that doesn’t mean they won’t report it if it is not, and that will most definitely lower the value of your home and cause you to be stuck in the housing market for longer.
Visit your county clerk or county recorders website to find recent selling prices of property in your neighborhood. Have these on hand when your appraiser arrives. This one is just a little bit extra to give the appraiser, because this is what they are looking for when they do their comparables. But hey, you may give them even more information mortgage lenders and real estate agents are looking for to justify a higher selling price, so why not try it?
Dig out maintenance records and system analyses for things such as septic systems, wells and structural reviews. The more informed the appraiser is, the better the appraisal will be. You can also help them by creating a list of major improvements and upgrades, including installation or application dates and costs. Again, these upgrades could be great selling points for your real estate agent to point out to prospective buyers out there in the housing market.
This step is one I actually find the most important and it is to interview appraisers, seek out one with experience appraising real estate in your expected price range and area, especially here in Los Angeles where the housing market is so diverse. On top of that, mortgage lenders and real estate agents usually want to work with the most reputable appraisers possible.
Finally, make sure all parts of the house and property are accessible. An appraiser will need to see the inside as well as out, so make sure all entries and exits are easy to get to. If they can’t get to every part of your home, they can’t fairly appraise it. They need to have all the pertinent information, and this includes being able to measure the rooms and find out the total square footage. It isn’t enough for you to tell them, because this goes into the appraisal report they give the real estate agent or mortgage lender.
So that’s it; with the housing market becoming more and more of a buyer’s market, anything and everything you can do to give yourself a leg up when selling is worth the effort.
If you are thinking about buying or selling a home and need it appraised, please visit us at www.iappraiseforyou.com for more information.
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