The 10 Mistakes that Just Killed Your Home Appraisal

It’s one of the most important parts of the home selling process. Getting a strong appraisal may feel like a given, especially in today’s Seller’s Market. But don’t take this process for granted. These small but easy to fix home appraisal mistakes could significantly impact your home’s offer-generating power.

1. Being a No-Show on Appraisal Day

Look! We’re all busy. You have a million things you’d rather be doing than waiting around to have your home appraised. But if an appraiser has questions and no one to ask, they have to make assumptions. That won’t often work in your favor because ethics dictate they err on the side of caution when it comes to appraisals.

Not to mention that an appraiser may be annoyed that you didn’t think this was an important enough occasion to be present. While an appraiser certainly wouldn’t intentionally let this reflect on your value, unintentional bias is a thing.

2. Keeping Tight-Lipped About the “Good” Stuff

Your roof is under five years old with 30-year shingles. Your walls are double insulated.

Appraisers are good at spotting things that bring the appraisal down. But despite their training, they may miss the subtle things that can significantly impact your home appraisal. They need to know about these things.

Research the items that improve home value. Check off ones that work in your favor. Create a list to show your appraiser.

According to the National Association of Realtors, year-over-year home values rose 23% in May 2021. But to tap into this increase, your appraisal must reflect your home’s true value in the current market.

3. Being a Shadow

You should speak up regarding the great things about your house. But please give your appraiser space to do their job.

4. Thinking Appraisers Ignore Clutter

No. They wonder what you’re hiding under there. The cleaner and more organized your space appears, the more confident an appraiser will be giving you the appraisal you think your home deserves.

Plan for the visit by pulling things out to purge. Throw away, donate, and improve how what’s left is organized to give the right impression.

Don’t forget the cabinets and closets. The appraiser will open them. While they might not consciously ding you for having outdated soup cans, they might experience unintentional bias.

5. Neglecting the Basement/Attic

In many homes, the basement or attic can be an extension of enjoyable living space. If it’s dark, damp, and loaded up with old dusty boxes, you may be hiding its true potential.

Often small fixes like changing out a lightbulb, cleaning up, or running a dehumidifier can completely change how an appraiser perceives this space.

6. Thinking It’s Too Early to Think About Curb Appeal

You may be thinking that curb appeal only matters to the buyer. Surely, the appraiser will look past the superficial.

You might think so, but when it’s time to get a home appraisal, the appraiser is the buyer by proxy. They put themselves in the buyer’s shoes during the valuation, and yes, they care what your lawn and landscaping look like.

7. Forgetting You Have Pets

You can’t imagine life without them, but even well-behaved pets are just animals that get in the way in the eyes of the appraiser. They may even smell or cause allergic reactions.

So before the appraiser arrives, arrange for house-roaming pets like cats, dogs, or ferrets to stay with a friend or in a boarding facility. And please, realize that your house may smell normal to you, but to the appraiser, that’s the distinct aroma of wet dog, dirty litter, or a hamster cage that hasn’t been cleaned in three months.

Please clean any pet smell sources and air the place out.

8. Assuming Your Appraisal Is Always Right

To err is human. Appraisers are people too. No one knows your house as you do. Look over the appraisal report to spot errors or misunderstandings. Then follow the process to respectfully dispute something you believe may be wrong.

9. Not Following Standard Protocols If There’s a Problem

Your appraisal document will state a process when disputing the appraisal. For example, the appraisal documents may tell you to contact the lender managing your mortgage Virginia Beach rather than the appraiser’s office directly.

Not following the process creates extra work for others. That may not work to your benefit.

10. Not Getting Your Disputes in Writing

“But I think”, “I feel”, “This is sooo unfair”…the person managing your dispute won’t care. They want cold hard facts. When an official makes a wrong call in a game, there must be overwhelming evidence to overturn it. If it’s borderline, the call stands.

Expect this same level of scrutiny. To whatever extent possible, back your dispute up with evidence to get the home appraisal your house deserves.

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