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What Can I Do to Make My Home Appraise Higher?

Mortgage and Lending with US Bank NMLS: 22343

What Can I Do to Make My Home Appraise Higher?


Whether the purchase or refinance of a home, where mortgage financing is involved, you can be sure an appraisal be required in the vast majority of cases. With very few exceptions, homeowners or homebuyers seek to obtain the highest and most accurate appraised value of the property. So what steps can one take to assure that this value comes in? Here are a few tips from the experts:


  1. Choose your lender very wisely. Why? Because since the implementation of the Home Valuation Code of Conduct (HVCC) in 2009, most of the mortgage industry has been required to use an appraisal management company (AMC) to place and fulfill appraisal orders. The AMC forms a third-party buffer between the appraisal and the bank, and the intent is to dissuade undue influence on the appraiser from the parties of the transaction. One of the unfortunate byproducts of this structure is that some AMC’s will contract with appraisers from outside of the area of the subject property and their lack of local market knowledge can adversely impact the appraised value of the home. Throughout populated areas of California, we use local appraisers whenever and wherever possible.
  2. Before the appraiser arrives, clean the house and yard. The appraiser may take many pictures of many rooms. The cleaner the home the better it shows, and the higher value you will get. If you own several vehicles, move them away from the property while the appraiser is there.
  3. If you have the sketch page from a previous appraisal, give it to the appraiser. This can help save him or her work and time.
  4. Prepare a list, including cost estimates, of improvements completed to the property in the last year. If any updates have been completed to the kitchen and/or bath within the past 15 years, include them also.
  5. If you, or your Realtor, know of a good sale (or two) in the area within the last six months, you can give the address and sales price to the appraiser.
  6. Tell the appraiser the predominant feature of your home --- the reason you bought it and the characteristic a future buyer may find most important and desirable.
  7. Be mindful of “health and safety” issues, regardless of how trivial they may seem. An opening in a wall, water stains on the ceiling, a disconnected faucet, peeling paint in a room that is lightly used or a missing banister on a staircase may all see trivial, but they could require notation in the report. And once reviewed in underwriting, you may find that your loan approval then becomes contingent upon repair of these items and a reinspection by the appraiser (Form 1004D or Form 442) to confirm the work has been done, all at your additional expense and effort. Make the small repairs in advance (or have the seller do so), even if it means hiring a handyman.
  8. Know the law. Here in California, carbon monoxide and smoke detectors must be installed to code. If you have a water heater, it needs to be appropriately earthquake strapped. Like with Point #7, omissions of these details could delay your close.


Stacking the deck in your favor using the tips above, and working together with us before and after the appraisal is complete, you can maximize your potential to attain the highest value. This can then open up financing options and opportunities, and even factor into the interest rate you’re able to obtain. When you are refinancing a home, the home’s value relative to your existing loan balance determines your eligibility. When you are buying a home, you and your Realtor will want to know the appraised value supports the contract price. In both instances, if you have questions about the appraisal process, and especially if you have concerns about your subject property’s value, I am here to help. 


Comp on, 



Robert J. Spinosa
Executive Loan Advisor
NMLS: 22343 CalBRE: 01297944
Cell: 415-367-5959 Fax: 415-366-1590
rspinosa@rpm-mtg.com    www.rpm-mtg.com/rspinosa 
1058 Redwood Highway, Frontage Road, Mill Valley, CA 94941


RPM Mortgage, Inc. – NMLS#9472 – Licensed by the Department of Business Oversight under the Residential Mortgage Lending Act. Equal Housing Opportunity.

Janelle Ancillotti
Seneca Home Staging - Syracuse, NY
HSR Certified Home Stager, Syracuse, NY

Perfect list, Rob. Personally, my husband and I have done all these things before every appraisal of our homes, and the results were worth the effort. I would add one more thing: when the appraiser comes, give him or her a quick orientation, tell them where you will be if they have any questions, then stay out of the way.

May 26, 2017 04:15 AM
Foster Smith Summerville
Carolina One Real Estate - Summerville, SC
Summerville & Charleston Homes for Sale SC Realtor

Great Post!

May 26, 2017 04:19 AM
Mark Loewenberg
KW of the Palm Beaches - Palm Beach Gardens, FL
KW 561-214-0370

whew.. had an appraisal yesterday and did most of this too! thanks for sharing

May 26, 2017 04:26 AM
Chris Lima
Turtle Reef Realty - Port St Lucie, FL
Local or Global-Allow me to open doors for you.

Thanks for the tips and congrats on the feature!

May 26, 2017 04:32 AM
Matthew O'Hare
Osterville, MA

A good post, so many times sellers focus on the wrong things.

May 26, 2017 05:52 AM
Steve Loynd
Alpine Lakes Real Estate Inc., - Lincoln, NH
800-926-5653, White Mountains NH

Appraisers may think they can be totally un-biases by the added information they can be given at the time of appraisal...but they are only human after all and values are subjective. So helping with good comps and supplying recent repairs does have a favorable out come for sure.

May 26, 2017 06:10 AM
John Wiley
Fort Myers, FL
Lee County, FL, ECO Broker, GRI, SRES,GREEN,PSA

Thanks for an informative post on getting the best valuation from an appraiser.

This post also generated some great comments that are also helpful.

The consumer would gain much from reading this information.

May 26, 2017 06:31 AM
Marte Cliff
Marte Cliff Copywriting - Priest River, ID
Your real estate writer

You make valid points. Although I see someone disagreed with you about cleanliness, I know you're right. I had an appraiser come right out and tell me that if a house is dirty he knocks the value down considerably.

May 26, 2017 06:39 AM
Macy Babb ... North Georgia Realtor
Re/Max Around Atlanta Realtor - 404-234-6166 - Cartersville, GA
Realtor, SFR, HUD/REO Certified

I think it just all comes down to their "opinion", we all see different values and I have seen a wide range on the same home... that C and Q grade have the most effect

May 26, 2017 07:00 AM
Donna & Larry Johnson
Keller Williams Real Estate - West Chester, PA
Chester & Delaware County

Whats crazy to me is that lenders are still sending appraisers that are not familiar with the areas.

May 26, 2017 07:06 AM
Eileen Burns 954.483.3912
Trans State Commercial Realty Inc. - Fort Lauderdale, FL
FLorida Real Estate Connector

Bravo Rob on feature, content and value post   Even if appraisers are unwilling to accept your comps, they will indeed, take into consideration improvements with folks who actually have receipts

May 26, 2017 08:07 AM
M.C. Dwyer
Melody Russell Team at eXp Realty of California, Inc. - Felton, CA
MC Dwyer-Santa Cruz Mountains Property Specialist

Hi Robert - nice post & congrats on getting featured.    When I went to see where you are from, your tag says LA County but you're located in my old stomping grounds of Marin - miss that place!   You may want to change your location tag!

May 26, 2017 09:06 AM
Rob Spinosa

I am Marin, but always experimenting with the locations, as we serve all of CA.  Marin is so small that I sometimes wonder if my posts get seen or heard if I indicate I am from there...  :-)

May 26, 2017 09:08 AM
Anna Hatridge
R Gilliam Real Estate LLC - Farmington, MO
Missouri Realtor with R Gilliam Real Estate LLC

Congratulations on the feature!  Well deserved.  I especially like the point you make about cleaning.  It can make a big difference.

May 26, 2017 10:10 AM
Jeff Dowler, CRS
eXp Realty of California, Inc. - Carlsbad, CA
The Southern California Relocation Dude

Great tips, Rob, on how to maxmize chances of a good appraisal. I always provide comps to the appraiser. I also always tell the seller to make sure the home is "show ready" or request the listing agent to ask the seller.


May 26, 2017 01:59 PM
Stephen Turner
House Broker Realty - York, PA

So true. seems a well-prepared agent will be able to get the notes needed and help prepare lists, which will be able to help appraisers.

May 26, 2017 02:04 PM
Nathan Gesner
American West Realty and Management - Cody, WY
Broker / Property Manager

Good information, Rob Spinosa . Congratulations on being featured!

May 27, 2017 05:38 AM
Mary Hutchison, SRES, ABR
Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate-Kansas City Homes - Kansas City, MO
Experienced Agent in Kansas City Metro area

First I'll say--nice head shot!  Good advice. I always try to meet the appraiser with a few comps.  Appraisers are very busy and anything I can do to help them out!

May 28, 2017 03:31 PM
Robert Hicks
United Country River City Realty - Savannah, TN

Thanks Rob-- Great post w/ lots of helpful info to share as reminders at my next agent meeting..

May 30, 2017 07:50 AM
Jan Green - Scottsdale, AZ
Value Added Service, 602-620-2699 - Scottsdale, AZ
HomeSmart Elite Group, REALTOR®, EcoBroker, GREEN

I always tell students taking my course that it's not a good idea to irritate an appraiser by changing access to a home without telling the appraiser in advance.  Nothing is worse than wasting their time!  Great post!  

P.S.  Another tidbit is that the listing agent needs to interview the appraiser for geographical competence.  Our county is over 400 sq miles! 

Jun 03, 2017 08:11 PM
Peter Westbrook

Stacking the Deck... Great Post. Great Sales Advice.

Aug 02, 2017 01:20 PM