Is Your Real Estate Agent Knowledgeable about Appraisals?

Dated: 05/07/2019

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How the Appraisal Process Works:

To begin, an appraisal is an unbiased professional opinion of a home’s value, usually conducted by a professional licensed appraiser.  Appraisals are almost always used in purchase-sale transactions and commonly used in refinance transactions. In a purchase-sale transaction, an appraisal is used to determine whether the home’s contract price is appropriate given the home’s condition, location, and features.  Appraisals in general are used to protect the lender, so that they do not lend more money than necessary.

Appraised value is not a concrete number.
While appraisals provide a professional opinion of value, they aren’t an exact science.  Appraisals may differ quite a bit depending on the time that they are done, and who is doing the appraising. Changes in market conditions also can dramatically alter appraised value as a multitude of factors affect the appraised value, including the state of the current market. However, in my experience I have tried disputing appraisals and to no avail the dispute is almost always declined.  

Appraised value doesn’t represent the whole picture.
The appraised value of a home is mostly based on factual and current information; however, it doesn’t take into account the needs of the seller or the buyer. The appraiser will not take into account extenuating circumstances (for example, the need to sell quickly), and will only consider the current condition of your home.

Appraisers use data from the past.
Appraisals are often considered backward looking, because they use sold data from comparable properties to help come up with a reasonable price.  This means that they look into the past history of your home as well as surrounding homes in the area that have a similar price range and will take this data into account when appraising.

You can use the appraised value outside of selling.
For selling purposes, appraisals are usually used to determine market value or factor into the pricing equation. But other appraisals are used to determine insurance value, replacement value, and assessed value for property tax purposes.

Putting Your Best Foot Forward:

If you’re trying to sell your home, there are many relatively inexpensive things you can do to improve your home’s appraised value.

-Superficial things such as unmade beds and dirty dishes won’t affect your appraisal value (however do not give the impression of a well-cared for home), but cracks in plaster, water-stains, dirty carpeting, pests, or strong odors might.

-Appraisers typically value houses in $500 increments, so if there’s a repair over $500 that can be made, do it. Fix leaky faucets, broken windows, cracked ceilings, faulty garage doors, and any electrical issues.

-Check your curb appeal! Overgrown landscaping and broken garage doors will work against you and your appraisal—especially if property values have declined in the neighborhood.  Take the time to make the outside of your home look welcoming as possible.

-Jot down the repairs and updates you’ve made over the years, when you did them and how much they cost. Remember the items that an appraiser might not notice, like a new roof or insulation—and even minor items like a new kitchen sink count too. These things don’t necessarily mean your value will increase, but every penny helps sometimes.

-If changes to your neighborhood/area have been made such as new schools or new parks, let your appraiser know. The area affects your value as much as your home does.

What a good real estate agent will do.

If I’m selling the home, I will be there to meet the appraiser and share the home improvements – and offer other market data, if multiple offers were present, and any recent community/schools improvements.

 

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Amy Paul

I was born and raised in Columbus, graduated from Bishop Hartley High School, then received a business degree from Butler University in Indianapolis. I have 15 years of residential real estate with bo....

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