Preparing for the Appraiser
by Jesse Lochman, State Certified Trainee
When calling to schedule appointments to look at properties, it is common to hear a touch of anxiety in the homeowner’s voice. After all, the homeowner is welcoming a stranger into the privacy of their dwelling, during which the stranger will critically look over the home, and make a judgement about its value. In this newsletter, I’ve tried to address a few of the concerns homeowners often have about having an appraisal done, and what you can do to help the appraiser.
Welcoming a stranger into your home poses obvious risks. The Missouri Real Estate Appraiser Commission understands public uncertainty, and requires appraisers to be fingerprinted and conducts a background check on all appraisal license applicants, and requires appraisers to sign a certification at the time of renewal stating they have not been convicted of any criminal offenses. Additionally, many lenders also require background checks on their appraisers periodically in addition to the state-mandated requirements.
The next question for most homeowners is, “What can I do to prepare for the appraiser’s inspection?” Typically, I advise homeowners to do two things. The first is to complete any ongoing home improvement projects or repairs that are in progress. Many buyers want to purchase a move-in ready home, so if there are holes in the walls, ceilings, or floor coverings, the property may sell at a discount, so if possible, it is wise to complete repairs prior to the appraiser’s visit. The second step is to do some general tidying up around the home, removing any clutter that might impair access to any rooms. We are not evaluating your housekeeping, but it is nice to be able to walk through a home without stumbling on a pile of dirty laundry in the floor. It is also worth noting that if the appraisal is being done as part of a lending transaction, your lending institution will also see the photos the appraiser takes. Furthermore, please have large dogs on a leash or in a kennel, as some can create a danger for the appraiser, and even the friendliest can create a distraction.
The night before the appraiser’s appointment, take a couple minutes to write out a list of improvements to the home during the last 15 years. (Don’t panic if you haven’t owned your home that long; just provide what you know, as some information is always better than no information.) The most important thing we look for are kitchen and bathroom remodels, but don’t forget improvements such as roofing, siding, or flooring. If you know of homes in your neighborhood that have sold without the aid of a realtor, it can be helpful to mention those to the appraiser as he inspects the home.
By taking a few steps ahead of time, you have peace of mind knowing that you’ve done everything you can to ensure that your home is valued as accurately as possible.
Spurgeon Appraisals regularly appraises a variety of property types. We have experience appraising farms, residences, and commercial properties. We pride ourselves on providing excellent customer service and quality appraisals. Contact our team to see how we can meet your appraisal needs and exceed your service expectations.
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