For homeowners, a real estate appraisal is the linchpin to buying or selling their home. It allows the property transactions to occur among the buyer, seller, real estate agent and mortgage lender.
Before an Appraiser arrives, there are a few things you should know. By law, an appraiser must be state licensed to perform appraisals prepared for federally related transactions. Also by law, you are entitled to receive a copy of the completed appraisal report from your lender.
To facilitate the appraisal process, it's beneficial to have these documents ready for the appraiser:
- A plot plan or survey of the house and land (if readily available) including illustration which shows any special easements or encroachments.
- Information on the latest purchase of the property in the last three years
- Written property agreements, such as a maintenance agreement for a shared driveway
- Home inspection reports, or other recent reports for termites, EIFS (synthetic stucco) wall systems, septic systems and wells.
- Brag sheet that lists major home improvements and upgrades, the date of their installation and their cost (for example, the addition of central air conditioning or roof repairs) and permit confirmation (if available) PERHAPS ONE OF THE MOST IMPORTANT THINGS TO LEAVE FOR THE APPRAISER.
- Any prior Appraisal with Sketch of your home is always helpful even if it is an older report as the data on your home and the sketch may save time for the Appraiser especially if you have a very large home. Appraisers who can save time are Happy Ones. Always good to have a Happy Appraiser on your hands!
- Information on "Homeowners Associations" or condominium covenants and fees.
- A list of "Proposed" improvements if the property is to be appraised "Subject To".
- Realtors, you can certainly provide COMPS for appraisers and place them in an envelope on the kitchen counter and tell them that they are there if they call ahead of time. DO NOT push comps on appraisers, most have the exact same data that you do in order to research comps and pressure will be perceived as trying to INFLUENCE Value. However, if you are award of sales that may not be showing up on FMLS or that have closed very recently and have not been posted as closed yet on FMLS/MLS this IS very helpful information. In addition, if you are aware of issues with a home that closed that were not evident in the FMLS listing or you know of special distress situations, etc. This also is helpful information for an Appraiser.
Here are some other suggestions:
- Accessibility: Make sure that all areas of the home are accessible, especially to the attic and crawl space. Take locks off those crawl space doors.
- Housekeeping: Appraisers see hundreds of homes a year and will look past most clutter, but they're human beings too! A good impression can translate into a higher home value. The feeling here is if the home is messy and cluttered knowing the Appraiser is coming by, then other major systems may not have been taken care of as they should. Determining overall Condition is one part of the Appraisal process. I SUGGEST THE HOME SHOULD LOOK LIKE IT WOULD FOR ANY POTENTIAL BUYER WHEN THEY KNOW THE APPRAISER IS COMING.
- If you have pets, please make an effort to remove the dog "poop" in the yard, last thing an appraiser wants to do is walk in the "poop" and track it into your home or into their car! I always remove my shoes when I enter a home, but not all do and if they do not realize they stepped in "poop" it may be tracked into your home.
- Maintenance: Repair minor things like leaky faucets, missing door handles and trim
- FHA/VA Inspection Items: If your borrower is applying for an FHA/VA loan, be sure to ask your appraiser if there are specific things that should be done before they come. Some items they may recommend might be: Install smoke detectors on all levels (especially near bedrooms); install handrails on all stairways; remove peeling paint and repaint the effected area; provide inspection access to the attic and crawl spaces, install ground fault protectors on all faucets in kitchen and baths.