Preparing for Your Home Appraisal

Get the Most from Your Home Appraisal

Couple painting their living room

A professional home appraisal is required when selling a home and 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 tasks may help increase your home's worth.

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. This 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.

During your home appraisal

The process has 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

Looking to purchase a new home? Proper inspections are also critical in the buying process. Note the important things to look for.