When you are refinancing your home, your lender will require that an appraisal be done of your home. Similarly, if you are selling your home the buyer's lender will require an appraisal to ensure the loan to value falls within its guidelines. An appraisal assesses the condition of the property itself and also compares it to similar properties -- typically ones that have sold recently in the area. Preparing your home for an appraisal is essential if you want your house to look its best -- which also can be reflected in the value determination.
Preparing for an Appraisal
Mow the lawn. Trim any overgrown hedges or plants and remove weeds or dead plants. Clean up any litter and put away the children's toys. Assess the condition of the house's exterior. Paint areas where the paint has chipped or peeled. Wash the windows, and remove any dust or cobwebs that have gathered. Replace any missing shingles on the roof.
Repair cracks or chips in the walls. Select a paint color for the interior of your home and paint any rooms that need touch-ups. Fix or replace leaky faucets, broken door handles or worn-out or outdated light fixtures. In each room, organize and remove clutter. Box up and store anything you don't need in the immediate future. Dust surface areas, such as countertops, ceiling fan blades and lampshades. Sweep and mop hard floors. Vacuum carpeted flooring. Replace worn carpeting or outdated linoleum if it is within your budget.
Compile a list of improvements you have made to the home, such as new windows, flooring, countertops, electric or plumbing upgrades and roofing. Include installation dates and costs as well as contact information for the contractor who did the work, if possible. Prepare a list of home inspection reports, including septic and well reports.
List the amenities near your neighborhood that make it a unique and appealing place to live. These can include schools, parks and shopping complexes. This is a way to help the appraiser familiarize himself with the area if he isn't already.
- If you have broken door handles or leaky faucets, try to fix them before replacing them. You may be able to fix them for less money than it would cost to replace them.
- When selecting paint for the home's interior, opt for a neutral color as it is generally more appealing to potential home buyers..
- When cleaning windows, newspaper works well as a replacement for paper towels as it is less likely to leave streaks.
- Jupiterimages/Polka Dot/Getty Images