The home appraisal is a crucial part of the home-buying process and can make or break the sale of the home. Appraisals can help a buyer secure a cheaper home, or they can help a seller make more money off of the sale of their home. Regardless of what side of the buying process you’re on, having a home appraised is essential. If you need to know more about home appraisals, keep reading. We’ve compiled a complete guide on home appraisals for buyers and sellers.

What Are Home Appraisals?

Because home appraisals are a necessary part of the home buying process, it’s important to understand what they are, of course. A home appraisal is an unbiased professional estimate of the value of a property. You may obtain a home appraisal when buying, selling, or refinancing a home.

A qualified appraiser reviews the home, conducting a visual inspection, a comparison to similar properties in the area, and other home-specific analyses to determine the value of the home. 

Why Are Home Appraisals Important?

Appraisals are important for both buyers and sellers. As a buyer, an appraisal helps you protect your investment. You want to make sure that you’re purchasing the property for what it’s worth or less. Overpaying for a home can haunt you for decades.

It’s also important for getting financing to purchase the home! Most lenders will only give you what the fair market value of the home is when purchasing. If an appraisal comes back lower than you expect, you may only be able to secure the value of the home. This can give you a negotiation tactic with the seller, too, as they may have it listed higher than the appraisal value.

Who Pays For the Home Appraisal?

In most cases, the borrower will pay for the home appraisal, which can cost a few hundred dollars. Home appraisals are important and inexpensive, so skipping this step can be a major mistake. It can lead to paying more for the home than you should, and it can also prevent you from securing financing.

Your Home Appraisal Checklist

From a seller’s perspective, it’s critical to show your property in a good light. This can mean several different things, so we’ve put together a comprehensive checklist to help you with your next home appraisal! Paying attention to these steps will help your home receive a great appraisal, we’re sure of it!

Know the Rough Value of Your Home First

By doing a little bit of research, you can know what to expect from an appraiser. This is an excellent piece of information to have before an appraiser enters your home. Check if any homes that are similar in style and size have sold near you recently. If possible, take a look at pictures and compare them. This helps give you a rough idea of what to expect.

Make a Brag Sheet

You know what makes your home great! Be sure to brag about it. Put together a list of any improvements that you’ve made, and be able to supply relevant paperwork for anything major. If you plan on making any improvements before leaving, include those as well.

Boost Curb Appeal

The exterior of your home is going to be part of the appraisal, as well. Make sure that you’re boosting your home’s curb appeal, too. Pay attention to the condition and cleanliness of your roof, gutters, driveway, and any other amenities. Make sure your lawn and landscaping are well-kept, too!

Clean Up

If your home is being appraised with your belongings in it, ensure that they’re tidy and organized. Better-looking homes receive better appraisals. 

Enlist Help

Ask your real estate agent or home inspector for assistance when preparing for an appraisal. Both have appraisal-relevant skills that you likely lack. Real estate agents know current market prices, while home inspectors can identify major issues that may need to be repaired beforehand. 

Make Minor Repairs

Making minor repairs before an appraisal may boost the home’s value. The last thing an appraiser wants to see is holes in the drywall or patches of missing paint. What could be worse than showing that your home still needs work? Make sure flaws, no matter how small, are taken care of ahead of time.

Have Documentation About the Home

Sometimes, an appraiser may miss something. Therefore, it’s a good idea to have some documentation on hand. Including the following can help boost the value of your home:

  • Copies of previous approvals
  • Any information regarding the Homeowners Association
  • Unpermitted additions
  • Positive things about the neighborhood, like schools and public transportation

Treat the Appraiser as a Guest

You’d be surprised how far a little kindness can go. An appraiser is a person, too, and should be treated as a guest in your home, even when they’re working. Keep the temperature comfortable, offer them a beverage, and just be friendly. 

Explore Ratecloud’s Mortgage Options

If you’re looking at information about appraisals, it’s entirely likely that you’re looking to buy or sell a home! With all of the information provided here about appraisals, you’ll know what you’re looking for, and how to make your next appraisal go smoothly. No matter the reason, though, be sure to think of Ratecloud! Buying, selling, or refinancing doesn’t have to be difficult.

Ratecloud can help you simplify your mortgage journey. Get started on your digital mortgage application today!