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The Ultimate Home Appraisal Checklist

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The Ultimate Home Appraisal Checklist


With homes in short supply, it has never been a better time to sell your home. The appraisal is an important part of the home selling process. If you are wondering what happens during the appraisal and how you can prepare, this guide has you covered. We have rounded up the ultimate home appraisal checklist.

From what repairs to make to what the appraiser is looking for this guide will help make sure your appraisal goes smoothly. Let us help you get your home sold without all the stress and negotiations that can come when an appraisal goes badly.

What is a Home Appraisal?

A home appraisal is done using a professional appraiser who is hired by the buyer’s lender. As a home seller, you can also order an appraisal before you list your home. When a homeowner refinances, an appraisal is often ordered in this instance as well.

The purpose of a home appraisal is to determine how much a home is worth. There are a variety of factors that go into determining your home’s value. Mainly, your home’s size, your lot size, the number of bedrooms, the number of bathrooms, and the overall condition of your home will have the biggest effect on the value.

It is important to note that a home appraisal is not a home inspection. Your appraiser will inspect the property but only to establish the general condition and the value. You will have a separate inspection that will look at how appliances function and asses anything that needs to be repaired.

What Do Home Appraisers Look For?

While the condition of your home will play a role in the appraised value, it is not as important as the number of bedrooms you have and the size of your lot, for example. While those factors you typically are not changing before your appraisal there are a few things you can do to help prepare your home.

On the outside of your home, the inspector is mainly looking for your lot and home size. Next, they will look at the age and condition of your paint, siding, and roofing. Depending on when your home was built, lead paint could have been used, for example.

On the inside of your home, they are looking for the number of bedrooms you have, the number of bathrooms, fireplaces, and the overall size of your home. The market you live in will also factor into your appraisal price.

While the garage does not count in the size of your home, its condition will add or detract from the value. Making sure your garage door is opening properly is a good thing to do before the appraisal day.

What Can Happen After a Home Appraisal?

After your home appraisal, the appraiser will let the bank know what the value of your home is. Your realtor and the buyer’s realtor will also be notified. If your home appraises for the sales price, no further action is needed.

When you list your home, the potential buyer will either accept the sales price or negotiate a lower price. Your home may also get offers above your asking price. While this is the best-case scenario, your home price is not locked in until after your appraisal comes in. The reason for this is that the buyers and their lender do not want to buy the home for more than it is worth.

If your home appraises lower than the sales price, a few different things can happen. First, you and the seller may agree to the lower appraised value. In this case, you are agreeing to take less for the home. In other cases, the buyer may agree to pay the difference in cash. Unfortunately, if the home appraises for less, the buyer may also cancel the deal entirely.

In some cases, making a few small changes can help ensure your appraisal goes smoothly. While this may involve spending some money upfront, it will save you the hassle of finding a new buyer or having to accept a lower sales price. This all adds up in the end when you consider how much money you are spending the longer your home sits on the market. 

Things to Check and Repair Before Your Appraisal:

To help your home appraise for the most value there are a few easy things you can do beforehand. Making a few small changes can help ensure your home appraises for the value you are hoping for. Here is a quick checklist to run through before you list your home for sale.

1. Address Plumbing Issues

One thing an appraiser looks for is water damage. If you have had leaks or plumbing issues in the past, you may see water spots, brown stains, or paint bubbling. Before your appraisal, you can have these spots, inspected, patched, and re-painted.

If you have bigger water issues or leaks, have these fixed or repaired before you list your home. While it seems like a big expense and or to-do item, it is better to take care of it now. Waiting until your house is under contract could cause more hassle down the road. It may even result in the deal falling through.

2. Have Your Roof Repaired and Inspected

Your roof is there to protect your home from the elements and water damage. If it is not in good condition, this could affect your home’s value. Have your roof inspected and repaired before you sell your home.

3. Have Your Basement Sealed or Repaired

If you have had water damage in the past, you should have your basement repaired or inspected. Seal it and make sure water damage is taken care of. This will help make sure nothing comes up in the appraisal or inspection.

4. Service Your HVAC and Air Conditioner Systems

Your HVAC and air conditioning systems should be inspected yearly to make sure everything is in good working order. If you know something is not working, have it repaired before you list your home. If these are not functioning properly, it could cost you at appraisal time.

5. Secure Handrails

Handrails are an important safety feature in your home. If you have been living with handrails that are falling off or broken, it is time to have them repaired. This is one item an appraiser will take note of.

6. Repair Cracks

Visible cracks in the exterior of your home, ceiling, or walls, should be patched and repaired. While it may seem like a lot of money to invest in a home you are selling, this is money well spent. It will help your home show better to buyers and it will also help your appraisal and inspection go smoother.

7. Check Your Doors

If your doors do not lock or close properly, this is an easy fix you may be able to take care of yourself. Doors are another important safety and fire feature that you will want to be fixed. Replace your locks or latches and make sure your doors all close properly.

If your garage door is not working, this is another item to take care of. Have a professional come to repair your door so that it opens and closes properly. A working garage door will actually help boost your property value.

8. Complete Unfinished Business

If you have a lot of unfinished projects, take the time to complete as many little things as you can before you list your home. While there is no need for a full renovation, things like finishing a half-painted room or repairing a light fixture can help your home sell faster.

Take some time to wrap up small projects to improve the condition of your home. Every detail does not go into your appraised value but the better your home looks, the easier selling will go. It is also helpful to have a professional cleaning done before you list your home or have it appraised.

Your Home Appraisal Checklist

Completing these easy home appraisal checklist items will help your home sell faster and appraise well. While it can seem overwhelming to tackle too many projects, the more you can take care of before you list, the easier selling will be.

If you are ready to list your home for sale, fill out the contact form here. Our team of real estate experts can help you decide what to repair and any changes to make to help your home appraise and sell for more.