Who Appraises The Home?

Appraisals must be conducted by a licensed, third-party appraiser who has no connection to the buyer, seller or lender. That way, all parties can be sure the determined market value is fair, unbiased and free of any influence from a party that could benefit.

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How To Prepare For Your Appraisal

In addition to checking the exterior and interior condition of the home, the appraiser will also look for anything needing repairs. Here are some areas to consider addressing before your appraisal:

  • Check your electric garage door opener to make sure it’s working.
  • Secure a handrail on steps or stairwells.
  • Secure second-floor doors with decks.
  • Secure a railing to any and all raised decks.
  • Ensure all utilities are functional with no safety issues.
  • Ensure water, electricity and air conditioning are functional.
  • Take care of any plumbing issues, roof leaks or stains.
  • Check for cracks in the walls, ceiling or foundation.
  • Check for water intrusion through the foundation.
  • Ensure your roof is sound and has at least 3 years of economic life remaining.

This is by no means a complete checklist of repairs that might need to be addressed before a home appraisal. It is, however, a list of the most common issues that may arise either before or during the inspection.

By addressing any repairs or upgrades before the appraisal inspection, you’ll be better equipped for a smooth home buying process and possibly a higher home value.

The Bottom Line

An appraisal determines the fair market value for a home. A professional appraisal is done by a licensed third-party appraiser who assesses the interior and exterior of the property, researches similar homes in the area and gives a final report. Be sure to spruce up your home to make it look more appealing to an appraiser.

Before your mortgage lender gives you a loan, they look at the appraiser’s report to ensure that you aren’t paying more for the home than its current value. Most single-family home appraisals cost $300 – $400, while multifamily units typically cost up to $600, though it could be more costly if you live in a rural area or have large acreage.

If an appraisal comes in low, buyers and sellers both have options. A buyer can renegotiate the sales price, and a seller can lower the home price or request another appraisal. While a client or seller can request a new report, that does not mean that a new report will be ordered or issued upon that request.

Appraisals are beneficial for everyone involved in the home buying process: For buyers, a home appraisal ensures they are paying the current fair market value. For sellers, an appraisal helps them price their home competitively. For mortgage lenders, an appraisal provides proof that a home is valued at the proper level to approve a mortgage.

Ready to apply for a mortgage or a refinance of your current mortgage? Get started with Rocket Mortgage® today.

How is a home appraised?

During a home appraisal, a licensed appraiser conducts a thorough inspection of the property.

The appraiser will consider all factors that could affect the property’s value. These factors include the condition of the property, any upgrades or additions made to the property, the size of the lot and “comps” or recently sold properties of comparable size and condition in the same market.

5. Appealing tax assessments

In many states, property taxes are calculated based on the fair market value of your home. If the value of your home listed on your property tax bill appears too high—if housing prices in your neighborhood or city have declined, for example—you may be able to appeal the assessment.

An independent appraisal could help strengthen your case, which ultimately could lower your annual property tax. The process for challenging assessments varies by state and locality, so be sure to check whether your state or locality allows homeowners to submit their own appraisals when appealing property tax assessments.

Things that can hurt a home appraisal

There are a few things that can hurt a home appraisal, so before your mortgage appraiser comes by for an evaluation, here’s what to look out for:

  1. Lack of curb appeal.Your curb appeal is what a potential buyer sees when they arrive at your home. A cluttered yard, bad paint job, overgrown grass and an overall neglected aesthetic may hurt your home appraisal.
  2. Broken appliances and outdated systems.By systems we mean plumbing, heating and cooling, and electrical systems. If any of these items are extremely outdated, functioning improperly or both, this will hurt your home appraisal.
  3. Market conditions.The state of the housing market will influence your home appraisal value. If it’s a buyer’s market, meaning there are more houses on the market than there are buyers, then you might receive a lower home appraisal based on recent sales near you. If it’s a seller’s market, meaning there are more buyers than there are properties, you may receive a higher home appraisal.
  4. Location.The location of your property is one of the biggest influences on your home value. A home located in a safe, quiet neighborhood in a good school district will receive a better appraisal value than the same home located on a main road by a train station, for example.
  5. Overall aesthetic.The appraiser can’t judge your home based on their opinion of your décor, but they can take the cleanliness and use of space into account. A tidy, aesthetically pleasing home that optimizes its space will likely perform better than one that’s unkempt.

Home Appraisal Tips For Sellers

When you’re selling your home, it’s important that the home doesn’t appraise for significantly less than what the buyer agreed to pay. Unless you’ve got a cash offer, a low appraisal could be a deal-breaker. Here are some ways to help your home appraise for the right amount.

Provide An Offer List

If you received more than one offer for your home, let your appraiser know. Multiple offers can show the appraiser that your home was priced well. Provide the appraiser with a list showing each offer you received.

Attend The Appraisal

As the seller, you’re allowed to be present when the appraiser does their walkthrough. Accompanying the appraiser gives you the chance to point out any upgrades, improvements or particularly charming design features. This is your chance to make sure the appraiser doesn’t overlook those fantastic new cabinets you just installed.

Tidy Up

You can’t change your home’s square footage or location, but you can make your home look bigger, brighter and more valuable with a few affordable home renovation tricks.

Maximize your space by putting away countertop appliances and clutter. Replace dim light bulbs with brighter ones. Hang mirrors to maximize natural light and give the illusion of a bigger room. Pull furniture away from the wall. Do whatever you can to make your home look bigger and brighter.

Provide Comparable Properties

If you or your agent are aware of recent sales that could be considered in the report, provide them to your appraiser. Search public records for homes with a final sale price close to what you asked for your home. You can present this list to the appraiser when they arrive at the home.

Home Lending Customer Service

Go to Chase mortgage services to manage your account. Make a mortgage payment, get info on your escrow, submit an insurance claim, request a payoff quote or sign in to your account. Go to Chase home equity services to manage your home equity account.

3. Getting a home equity loan

Unlike refinancing, home equity loans are a second loan on top of the existing mortgage. The amount you can borrow in a home equity loan is based largely on the amount of equity you have after the remaining value of the mortgage is subtracted from the current value of the house. If your home has decreased in value, you may not be eligible for a home equity loan.

How Do I Prepare for a Refinance Appraisal?

Preparing your home for an appraiser’s visit is different from preparing it for a prospective buyer. “When you are opening your home to a prospective buyer, you want to trigger emotional responses,” says Parsons. “As a seller, you want that buyer to be able to imagine how happy and comfortable they will be there. No such subjective considerations apply to an appraisal.”

Vaccari adds that a homeowner wouldn’t make a change—such as ripping up old carpet to reveal hardwood floors—for an appraisal as they might for a seller. Still, freshening up the home’s paint, both inside and out, can help, as can clearing away clutter to allow full access and viewing of all areas of the home, including the basement. Be sure that everything works (e.g., run your heating and cooling systems and test your kitchen appliances), and make plans for the children and pets to be somewhere else so that they aren’t a distraction. Finally, says Ailion, “if the tax records are incorrect, point that out.”

Otherwise, Vaccari says, it is the appraiser’s responsibility to discover problems and ask questions where warranted.

How Long Does a Home Appraisal Take?

The home appraisal process typically takes seven to 10 days. The time frame depends on the property, the complexity of the appraisal, and the appraiser’s schedule (i.e., how busy they are). The appraiser may spend 30 minutes or up to several hours examining the home in person. Once the appraiser has evaluated the home, it takes a week or two to compile the appraisal report.

Make Sure the Appraisal Report Is Accurate

Although changes to the appraised value are not common, you can consider appealing the appraisal if you find a factual error in the appraisal report. For example, if the appraiser indicated two bedrooms instead of three bedrooms or there is an error in the gross living area.

If you didn’t receive the appraisal report from the buyer, contact the buyer’s real estate agent to request a copy. Then, carefully look through the appraisal report for errors.Were features accurately described? Did the appraiser adjust for differences between your home and the homes used for comparison purposes? When looking at the appraisal report, remember that if the home has a finished basement area, appraisers are required to report that area separately and not include it in the gross living area.

If you find errors, describe the factual errors in a letter and contact the homebuyer’s lender to ask about the procedure to fix errors. Do not try to contact the appraiser directly.

Mortgage Appraisal

Ask your local bank if they can provide an appraisal on your home. You may be subject to a charge for the service, but you’ll know that the appraisal is one that lenders use to establish mortgage limits. The appraiser will asses both the interior and exterior of your home, the neighborhood and your community before arriving at a price. Work with the appraiser and point out all the upgrades and positive features you’ve installed.

Takeaways

While avoiding an appraisal altogether might not be an option for those financing the purchase of their home, there are ways you can positively influence the outcome.

This article is meant for informational purposes only and is not intended to be construed as financial, tax, legal, or insurance advice. Opendoor always encourages you to reach out to an advisor regarding your own situation.

Tax Rolls

The tax assessor or county clerk’s office in your locality performs a property tax assessment on your house to establish the amount you pay in taxes. This figure is not a market “sales price” estimate. It is usually divided into two figures: a house assessment and a land assessment. Added together they amount to the basis for your yearly tax payment. Do not use the tax assessment to set a current market value for your home.

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