Congratulations on getting your Richmond Virginia home sold! The last post I talked about how to get your home ready for your buyer's inspections! But now you need to get the home ready for your buyer's appraisal! Why? The buyer's lender wants to make sure that the price that the buyer is paying for your home is the true value of your home!
Do you have any control over what the appraiser values your home at? The short answer is: Yes AND No!
You don't have any control over who the appraiser is that is chosen to do the appraisal - that is chosen by the lender! You don't have any control over just how familiar the appraiser is with your neighborhood or even how experienced that appraiser is! But you do have some control on things you can do to help make sure that the appraiser gives your home the highest value you can!
So to help you with the appraisal, here is a list of 15 items to help you get your home ready for the appraiser's visit!
Make sure any safety items needed are installed & working! For instance, if you have more than 3 steps to your house (landings are included here), make sure there is a handrail on those steps! If the stove is missing the anti tip bracket, make sure it is on the stove!
Make a list of the home improvements you have made to your home! I recommend adding in everything! Did you upgrade your kitchen or your bath? Did you upgrade the electric in an older home or the plumbing? Did you replace flooring? How about the roof? Some things may not have any value but some may - so don't leave anything out!
Make sure that any home improvements you did were done with the proper permits! Some things will require permits from the county or city (think - adding extra outlets to the house, adding plumbing, making structural repairs and improvements). If you did not get permits, do this before the appraiser comes by going to the county or city and having the permits issued and the work inspected and signed off on by the code inspectors! Then have copies of those permits for the appraiser!
Clean like there is no tomorrow! You won't get any added value for cleaning the house, but the appraiser will give a value for the condition of the house and a clean house helps make the home shine!
Know the competition that has sold in the area! The appraiser will be using the most recent sold homes that are most like yours to come up with the value for your home! Make sure you know what homes have sold in your area and how your home compares to those sales!
Mow the grass, trim the trees! Again, this goes to the condition of your home and the property!
Do any updates you can do! You may not be able to put in a brand new kitchen, but you can do some smart updates to your home that may add some value! Replace the counter with granite, maybe new appliances, painting the cabinets & putting on new hardware! This can be the difference between losing value for having an outdated home and getting some extra value for your updated home!
Any little repairs should be done! If you have a small leak at the kitchen sink, spend the money now and fix it! That could cost you as much as a $500 decrease in your home's value! Go room by room through your home and note any repairs that need to be made - then call in your favorite handyman or contractor and get those things done!
Make sure the appraiser knows all about your neighborhood! The appraiser may not be familiar with your neighborhood or the amenities and benefits of living there! Why not let him/her know how great the schools are, how close the neighborhood parks are, how easily you can get downtown or to shopping! It may or may not help, but it doesn't hurt to make sure they are as familiar with your neighborhood and it's amenities as they can be!
For Sale By Owners! If there are any homes in your neighborhood that recently sold For Sale By Owner, the appraiser may find it in the tax records. But since it is probably not in MLS, they may not know anything about that home or it's condition or anything about the sale! So let the appraiser know whatever you can about that sale!
Get rid of clutter! I know that you are now packing to move to your home and there may be boxes all over and things out of place! But make sure that the appraiser is able to move around freely throughout the house! Make sure that they are able to see the condition of your home! After all, you want to get the highest value possible in your home!
Stage the home for the appraiser! You may have staged your home for the buyer, but did you know you should also stage your home for the appraiser? By this I mean, make sure the thermostat is set for a comfortable temperature, the drapes are open, the lights are on, the kids & pets are nowhere to be found!
Make sure all the appliances work! Go through the house - make sure the dishwasher is properly working, the ice maker in the refrigerator, the stove and microwave. Make sure toilets properly flush, ceiling fans do what they are supposed to, and even that the windows open & close properly! If they don't, get these things repaired before the appraiser comes!
Give the appraiser some space! Yes, you want to make sure that the appraiser notes everything about your house that adds value - but make sure you don't follow the appraiser around like a puppy dog! It may make them feel uncomfortable - and you definitely don't want an appraiser who is uncomfortable to be the one assigning a value to your home!
Remember - Zillow does not assign value AND cost does not equal value! Zillow and any other automated valuation sites out there on the internet are not appraisers - their value is not going to be the value that is accepted by the lender! Only the value that the licensed appraiser comes up will be the one that counts! Cost does not equal value - just because your new kitchen cost $20,000 does not mean that the appraiser will increase the value of your home by $20,000!
Appraisals are a fact of life when it comes to buying & selling a home! Most buyers today will be getting a loan, and the lender is going to want to get an appraisal done to make sure that the value of the asset they are making a loan on is the true value! So anything you can do to put your home in the best possible light for the appraiser will go a long way towards making sure that the appraised value you get is the highest one you can get!
Thinking of selling your home? Thinking of buying a home? Have a question about real estate in Richmond? Feel free to contact me and I would be happy to help! Have a great day!