So you've scheduled the appointment with the Appraiser to have your home appraised. What should you do prior to the inspection, to maximize your value and possibly save some money as well?
In the days prior to the appraisal inspection, do a home inventory of all the repairs you've made since you bought the home include (copies of receipts if you have them) or your contractors estimates/ cancelled checks for major improvements. If you cant find the paperwork list them down with your best estimate for each.
We recommend you bullet point all of these improvements and repairs on a piece of paper and present it to the appraiser when he/she first walks in. This will assure that the Appraiser doesn't miss anything and will speed up the appraisal inspection. Get copies of "signed off: permits or contractor estimates of work you have done. The Appraiser will require a copy of a signed off permit for any additions to be credited. Most often than not it does not appear on city records (not updated yet in many cases). If you don't have this at time of inspection the Appraisal can be made "subject to" permits thus causing delays. Or in many cases it is completed "as is" omitting the area altogether and giving this area value as additional storage area as an example.
If you have a copy of your previous appraisal make a copy of the report prior to the inspection and provide it to the Appraiser. (The appraiser can use the previous sketch of the floor plan rather than redrawing it.) They may also have pertinent info that the new appraiser is not aware of that they can refer to by having a copy of the last report. Some will verify a few of the measurements or use it altogether, this also saves them and you time. If you have done improvements since the appraisal was done make sure you list them as suggested above.
After providing them with a copy of the previous appraisal report, don't expect the appraiser to come in at what the last appraisal did? The market conditions have likely changed since the last inspection in some cases for the better or worse.
Don't ask the appraiser what value he/she is coming in at at your home? The appraiser may already have an idea but they still have to drive comps (other homes sold in your neighborhood) and adjust for differences to arrive at a final value conclusion. In many instances the lender may have another appraiser review the report and have a difference of opinion. You think everything is peachy until you get the word that the value conclusion is different than what was shared with you at your home.
Call your lender and ask if the appraisal has been reviewed by the underwriter and if the value estimate was approved. You can ask what the final value was and ask for a copy of the report within 90 days from the date of inspection. (The lender may be reluctant to give you a copy of the report out of fear that you are "Shopping them" with another lender) Let them know you are not and that they are required to provide you with a copy. (provided that you paid for it up front) You cannot get a copy directly from the Appraiser it must come from your lender.
Don't follow the Appraiser around pointing out every small detail of the home. This is not only distracting but many homeowners unwittingly point out various things they've done to the house that have little or no impact on the value. The Appraiser is not there to buy your home so you don't have to try to sell it to them.
The Appraiser can only address what presently exists and the condition your home is in at the time of inspection. They can address your property "as is" or "subject to" in determining the estimate of value. Don't tell the Appraiser of all of the things you plan/hope/wish to do to your home. In most cases it will have little to no impact in the final value estimate. Save your wish list for your contractor.
Don't worry about not having the laundry done. We are not there to judge your housekeeping; we are only looking at the physical characteristics and condition of your home. However remember that the appraiser will be taking interior photos for the lender a well as for the appraiser's own liability.
Most Appraisers love dogs but place them out of the way or in a kennel or dog run when the appraiser is there.
Don't water down your yard and driveway right before the Appraiser inspects your home if you can. The appraiser finds him/herself walking thru mud which could be tracked into your home and increasing the possibility of slipping or falling.
If you have security bars on your bedroom windows and they have no safety releases they must be removed. This is not only for your health and safety but the lender will require that they be removed. If they are not removed prior to the inspection, the appraiser must set up a re-inspection which will be an additional cost to you from the appraiser as well as your time and delay of your loan. You could lose a rate lock with the added delay.
Follow these do's and don'ts and you will speed up the inspection process, assure nothing is missed, and maximize the appraiser's ability to determine the estimate of market value of your home.
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