A professional home appraisal is required when selling a home — and it's also important for refinancing. The unbiased opinion of your home's value gives potential buyers and lenders a clear picture of a home's worth.
While some influencing factors are outside of your control — such as proximity to good schools and the value of nearby homes — a few simple steps may help increase the value of your home.
Before your home appraisal
- Review previous appraisals. Look for issues that lowered your home's value in the past and address those problems.
- Collect important documents for the appraiser. These could include a land survey that verifies property size, proof of your home's most recent sale price and a list of recent improvements complete with receipts.
- Tidy up. Clear clutter and contain pets to make the inspection easier for the appraiser.
- Invest in curb appeal. Clear debris from your yard, trim the hedges, and clean the gutters to make your home more attractive.
- Make minor repairs. Small fixes, such as touching up chipped paint or replacing a broken doorknob, can help add to a home's value.
What to expect during your home appraisal
The process includes three major steps:
- Real estate inspection: The appraiser closely examines the interior and exterior of your home, taking photos and noting its overall condition.
- Comparables: After the initial visit, the appraiser researches recently sold homes in your neighborhood. This helps the appraiser calculate the home's worth based on current housing market values.
- Final report: The appraiser prepares a complete property and market analysis, which typically includes:
- Your home's size and condition
- A record of any serious structural issues
- Notes about recent home renovations and the surrounding area
- Photographs, sketches and maps of your property