The appraisal is a funny thing. When you are buying a house, you secretly want it to come in lower to hopefully negotiate a better deal. As a seller, not only do you need it to come in at a value that the lender will fund the loan for, you want as much money as possible. Of course, unless you do an appraisal at the start of the process before you take any offers, the appraisal will not help a seller get any more money. Still, everyone who has an interest in the transaction wants to ensure an accurate home appraisal in Baltimore.
Prepare the Home
Preparing the home is something to do just to garner the best possible price for the property. This starts long before the house gets on the market. It involves cleaning inside and out, removing any junk or clutter and fixing little things like ripped screens or replacing cabinet hardware. Landscaping and painting are two simple and affordable things that also help a home reach its maximum value and get the most accurate appraisal.
Perform Due Diligence
The appraiser is looking at more than just the home for sale. He is looking at the similar size and condition homes in a proximal area to the home in escrow. Your real estate agent should have done a lot of the due diligence at the start. This means you should know that your home meets the market values in current market conditions. An average home will warrant less than a completely redone home with new everything. Talk to your real estate agent about what the best comparables are to your home in the area over the past three to six months.
Be Ready When the Appraiser Arrives
Just because you prepared the home before you listed it, take the time to give it a cleaning again. Obviously, this won’t require as much work as prior to listing but does help to put the home’s best foot forward. Get the yard mowed, leaves blown and hedges trimmed a day or two before. Shoot down the sidewalks and driveways to remove any dirt and grime. Clean the kitchens and bathrooms, making them sparkle. Remember that the appraiser will determine if your home falls into the above average, average or below average condition. The cleaner it is, the higher up the scale you go and the better the appraisal will be.
Appeal Things if Needed
The real estate debacle in the 2000’s led to changes in how appraisers are hired and used. You can no longer choose an independent appraiser yourself. The appraiser is hired by the lender because there were too many favors going on with appraising the homes in a skyrocketing and inflated market. This meant loans were approved for homes not really worth what the appraisal said.
What this means for the buyer or the seller is the process is streamlined and fairer. A buyer can’t get a lower appraisal by getting a favor and a seller can’t get a higher appraisal than what the market really will yield. It doesn’t mean that mistakes aren’t made. The appraiser might not be familiar with nuance pricing in certain pocket communities. His radius of examination might not accurately reflect the appraisal. This is why due diligence is important. If you and your realtor have done your homework, then you should have a realistic idea of the pricing and can appeal your case based on real market conditions, not favors.
Whether you are buying or selling, an accurate appraisal is in everyone’s best interest. Your realtor is there to help you understand the process and make sure there are no surprises when the actual appraisal comes in.