If you’re considering a move or have already made the decision to list your home for sale, or if you want to refinance your mortgage, there’s a home appraisal in your future. This can be a somewhat nerve-racking experience, as there’s a considerable sum of money on the line concerning what’s likely your most significant asset. And that’s where the following tips for preparing your home for an appraisal come in.
A home appraisal shouldn’t be a passive experience for you. There are plenty of ways to boost the final number, from quick, simple, low-cost efforts to more involved and costly ones if you have the time and inclination to make serious improvements or upgrades for an ROI. Whatever you do, it’s important that your home appears well maintained.
You probably won’t avail yourself of all these tips for preparing your home for an appraisal. Any of them will help you maximize the determined value of your home, and the more you do, the better. Pick and choose the ones that are the most practical for you, and the ones that are most relevant—that is, the ones that address the areas of greatest need in your home and that will make the biggest differences. Remember, these steps will also help you sell faster and for a higher price if you’re listing.
How to Prepare for a Home Appraisal
- Review past appraisals and note any issues that led to reductions in the home’s value, and address them when possible if they still exist.
- Take care of any superficial indoor and outdoor maintenance needs (e.g., loose roof shingles, loose tiles or floorboards, leaky faucets, squeaky doors, torn screens, chipped paint, burned out light bulbs, and so on).
- Compile a list of professional maintenance you’ve had and all upgrades you’ve made to your property.
- Gather relevant documents like land surveys, proof of recent sale price, and receipts for major improvements and upgrades.
- Clean your home thoroughly and deeply right before the appraisal, including having carpets professionally cleaned. Clear up any clutter.
- Wash your windows, inside and out.
- Make sure your yard is freshly mowed and landscaped at the time of appraisal.
- Use these quick and easy ways to boost your curb appeal to help make your home look like the nicest one on the street.
- Check safety devices, like smoke detectors, carbon monoxide detectors, home alarm systems, and fire extinguishers (did you know many have expiration dates?).
- Make sure all heating, air conditioning, plumbing, and other systems are working properly.
- Apply a fresh coat of paint inside where needed, and consider one for the exterior too if it’s looking overdue.
- Repair or replace malfunctioning appliances. Consider upgrades if your appliances are a few years old, especially if you’re able to put in high-end models.
- Consider some of these back yard improvements and these front yard improvements that reliably raise home value enough to deliver an ROI.
- Upgrades in kitchens and bathrooms are generally the best for raising home value.
- Don’t bother with any of these home improvements or these home improvements, none of which raise home value enough to provide an ROI.
- Research appraisers just as you would other professional service providers (doctors, lawyers, accountants, etc.) to find a reputable one with strong knowledge of the area and the local market.