Over the last few months, several people have asked me for tips to use when working with appraisers. Before accepting my position with the Shaw Neighborhood Housing Corporation, I worked in Illinois and Missouri as a state certified residential appraiser.
First and most importantly, please remember an appraisal is a professional opinion of the market value of a property. A few ways to help as a home owner is to present your home in an appealing manner and to educate the appraiser about your area, neighborhood, street, and home.
1. Tell the appraiser what you think the home is worth.
2. Make sure your home shows well by cleaning up the appearance inside and out (i.e. landscaping/maintaining your grass, etc/picking up boxes, cloths, dirty dishes, etc).
3. Present any recent sales from your street or neighborhood which you think support the expected value of your home. Make sure you give the addresses, MLS numbers or any other information to the appraiser to investigate. A market analysis from a real estate broker including comparable properties is a good way to assist the appraiser with collecting information.
4. If you have a 2.5 story home, make sure the appraiser understands the sq. ft listed in the tax records may only include the 1st two floors and an adjustment may need to be made.
5. Consider giving an old appraisal to the appraiser.
6. Make a list of all the improvements you’ve made to the home in the last 5 years and make sure to point out all the improvements to the appraiser. Include the cost of the improvements including your time and labor on the list. The appraiser can add it to the report to help justify the condition, etc.
7. Personally walk the appraiser through the home and point out any important aspects of the home. Accentuate the positive features of the home (custom trim work, custom brick work, original fireplaces, hardwood floors, new kitchen. new bath, new light fixtures, etc).
8. If your home was purchased or refinanced recently (1 month to over a year) and no significant work has been completed, don’t expect the value for your home to increase because you think you bought it low or other similar homes have sold higher.
Shaw is a difficult place to appraise because of the difference in sales prices based on condition and the similar looking front facades of some homes. Hundreds of thousands of dollars can be a difference between two similar looking homes which are right next to each other. Also, some appraisers are not totally familiar with urban neighborhoods and need more information to educate themselves on our area.