We have an expression in real estate “you need to sell your home twice; first to the home buyer and second to the appraiser.” These days, most sale contracts contain a finance contingency or an appraisal contingency or both. If the home doesn’t appraise for the contract price, the seller may be in a position of lowering the price or letting the deal die. Both are painful alternatives, especially after a willing, able and qualified buyer has been procured.
Here are steps your Realtor can take to make sure the appraisal process goes smoothly:
1. Treat the Appraiser’s Appointment like a Property Viewing – Turn on all the lights, play classical music on the home’s internal audio system, play a movie on mute in the home theatre and have the pool fountains flowing. Treat the appraiser’s visit like a showing; present the home in its best possible light with all amenities in full viewing.
2. Provide Access to All Rooms – The appraiser needs to view all floors and measure the home. A locked room prevents the appraiser from doing his/her job and will likely necessitate a return trip.
3. Provide a Special Features Sheet and Improvements List – The appraiser is comparing the home to “comparable sales,” but there may be additions, updates, improvements and other amenities which make the home more valuable than the others. Those upgrades may not be visible upon a cursory view, so it’s important to put them in writing and provide the list to the appraiser.
4. Give your CMA to the Appraiser – More information is helpful to the appraiser. Provide the comparable sales analysis which was used to price the home. Inform the appraiser if you received competitive offers and if they had escalation clauses. The appraiser will consider all relevant information.
5. Complete All Repairs Prior to Appraiser’s Visit – If the sale contract calls for repairs to be made, complete them prior to the appointment. They can impact the value of the home and necessitate a return visit by the appraiser.
6. Keep Pets Away – Man’s best friend is not a friend to the appraiser, even if he/she is a pet lover. The pet can be a distraction or an annoyance. You don’t want your appraiser to leave the premises early because they are afraid of your pets.
Principal, Janet McAfee Real Estate