The appraisal process can mystify homeowners. They may not understand why an expensive renovation added so little to the value of their home, or why the house across the street has a higher asking price. That feeling can be minimized when consumers realize there are actions they can take to help during the appraisal process. Here are four tips to share with homeowners that can lead to a credible opinion of value:
- Request lender hires qualified appraiser. Homeowners have the right to request the use of a qualified appraiser with extensive knowledge of the market and the type of property being appraised. An appraiser with experience in a large metropolitan city may be highly qualified, but might not be the best choice to appraise a suburban property. Designated members of the Appraisal Institute, such as those who have received the MAI, SRPA or SRA designation, are capable of performing difficult assignments in today’s real estate market.
- Make minor repairs. Appraisers will notice details like a leaky faucet or a crack in the wall, so consumers should make minor repairs before the appraiser’s visit. Chipped paint, burned-out light bulbs and smelly mildew should all be addressed before the appraiser arrives. The interior also should be clean and free from clutter, and the lawn mown.
- Accompany the appraiser during the inspection. Contrary to some misconceptions regarding appraiser independence, homeowners can accompanying their appraisers during the property visit. In fact, they are encouraged to do so because they may be capable of giving more information about the home’s history of renovations and repairs. The homeowner also can note whether the appraiser allotted enough time for adequate inspection.
- Review the appraisal. Homeowners are entitled to a free copy of the appraisal from the lender no later than three days before the loan’s closing. Consumers, or their lenders, should review it carefully, confirming the accuracy of data on square footage, number of bedrooms and baths, etc. If errors are found, the homeowner should contact the lender and, if necessary, appeal the appraisal and/or request that a new one be completed.
Appraisals are complex and technical, and some consumers may be unaware of their role in getting the best possible results. Providing them with these tips should help them be better prepared, and be comfortable with the end results.
Share your tips for helping homeowners be better prepared for the appraisal process.