Appraisers review FMLS/MLS listings every day including all photos, commentary, etc. What you do and say in those listings not only helps your Seller get the highest possible price, but it can also mean higher Appraised Values and fewer calls from Appraisers! You would be surprised how many Listings I see that fall short of the below suggestions.
First rule of Thumb: Pretend you are selling YOUR own Home. Some of the best listings I see are Owner/Agents. Do your Sellers a great service and give them the same attention to detail as you would your own home. The more Appraiser's have with regard to the Property details the better chance for positive results on the Appraisal.
1. PHOTOS: Clear, sharp, high resolution photos: Include as many photos as the Listing will accept. Inside photos should include at the least; Living/Family Room, Kitchen, Master Bedroom, All Baths, Dining Room, Basement Rooms and All Special upgrades and features of the home Inside and Out. Front of home, Rear of home, Front Yard, Rear Yard. You do not need a professional photographer but when someone goes to CLICK on your photos in FMLS/MLS they need to be large enough to see the details.
* If you are dealing with Lakefront, Golf Course, Mountain View Homes, PLEASE include a view of these amenities from the REAR of home from the Deck or Patio. This is very important for the Appraiser and the Buyers to get a feel for what their views are FROM THE HOME. For Lake of course always include views of the lake from the Boat dock location, the boat dock itself, the views straight out from the dock, to the Right and to the left of the dock and toward the home so you can see things like Rip Rap shoreline, stairs and how close the home is from the dock as well as the path to the dock.
* Please UPDATE your photos for the Current Season. Nothing screams this home has been on the market a long time than a Winter Time Photo in the Summer.
2. Description of the property under PUBLIC comments, include all major renovations & approximate year. If you have total costs of all renovations include those as well.
*Sample: "Lakefront home with year round views. 15 feet of water at the end of dock at full pool. Renovations include: New HVAC: 2012; New Roof: 2015: New Appliances: 2010; New Floor coverings: 2011. Owner put over $50,000 in total renovation in past 6 years". Include anything that is not obvious in the photos and any special amenities. Then refer them to commentary under each photo. Since you are limited in your Public Remarks section use that section below EACH photo for more information; i.e.; Under your Kitchen photos if you have upgraded appliances say something like this: "Wolf Stove, Dacor Dishwasher, Sub-Zero Refrigerator" The more details the better both for the Buyer and the Appraiser so that they can give credit where credit is due to upgrades in the kitchen or the home in general.
This kind of commentary is good for every room in the house that includes any kind of special features that may not be obvious in the photos themselves. Leave NOTHING to chance. You have the room to spotlight the home, use every bit of it for the best result.
3. DIRECTIONS: Please do not just say "USE GPS" in that space. There may be some Appraisers and Buyers who actually do not have GPS or their GPS may be out of date on certain streets, etc. PLEASE also list turn by turn directions to the property. Appraisers have to drive by all Comparables, so clear directions is always appreciated! Buyers will like them too.
4. List all amenities carefully & accurately in the Listing in FMLS/MLS as the Appraisers use this information in their reports not only for the Subject but for the Comparable Sales.
5. SQUARE FOOTAGE/SOURCE: Please do NOT state "Appraisal" in this field unless you have an actual Appraisal on hand. If you get this from Courthouse Records State "TAX RECORD". You do not want another Appraiser using "The Appraisal" number against your Listing if indeed this is not from Appraisal and includes square footage in the basement (which many times they do). This could result in a REDUCED value for your under contract Listing!
In MLS you can separate square footage in the upper levels from the Basement. Please use that space to so designate that square footage. If you want to show the TOTAL square footage for better search results and superior selling potential then in the Public remarks please state the following:
" 3,450 total square feet all levels; 1,550 in the basement and 1,000 is finished" Total heated: 4,450. IF YOU RUN OUT OF ROOM UNDER COMMENTS, PUT THIS UNDER YOUR BASEMENT PHOTOS ON THE LISTING.
6. Comments to Avoid in your Listing:
"Priced to Sell" : I don't know why, but this is the Kiss of Death. In almost every case when I see this I look at days on market and it has been on the market longer than average. Isn't the whole idea to price homes to SELL? Do you really need to say this in a listing? Use this space to outline more features of the home.
"Won't last long": Again many times I see this and Days on market are longer than typical. If you DO say this.....if that home is on the market for over 30 days, remove that wording!
7. Attached Documents: Include the DISCLOSURE STATEMENT ALWAYS. It is very helpful for Appraisers as well as Buyers. We need to know how old components are in the home up to 15 years. Also include PLATS. Very helpful for Appraisers. Any other important documents, include them.
8. Site Section/Description: I see many times where it lists the home is in a Cul-De-Sac, when it is not. It may be on a cul de sac street further up, but not IN the cul de Sac. So technically is should not say cul de sac.
9. BE CREATIVE in all of your listings and try not to fall into the same "pat phrases" but try to point out that special thing or things about the home that set is apart from its competition and make it something that buyers want to see and Appraisers will appreciate about that home.
10: Lakefront Property: If the home is permitted for a larger dock note that in comments section of Listing. This does make a difference on Lake Site Value (permit type).
** Please do NOT state DEEP WATER Dock or especially Drought Proof if it goes dry in droughts. I see this wording many times and when I pull it up on Google Aerial, which other Appraisers and Buyers will do and see Dirt under the dock, Deep Water does not seem to accurately describe this lakefront lot. I see this more times than I care to Admit. In my opinion deep water should be at least 15 to 20 feet. Over the worst drought we have ever had. If you can CHASE into deeper water during drought....state that for buyers and Appraisers (especially for the benefit of those who are not familiar with the lake).
** If you or the owner has measured the depth behind the Dock, then state that amount in the Listing. If we are also below Full Summer Pool, you can state that, i.e.; "Dock has 15 feet of water behind the dock with Lake down 2 feet"
This is it for now. Remember, sell it like it is your own house and you can't go wrong! Thanks for Reading and Feel free to SHARE with your office.