As an Appraisal Management Company we constantly get asked what borrowers need to do preparing for the inspection. Over the many years we have compiled a list of suggestions to help make the appraisal process most effective. These are simply suggestions that will help the appraiser in forming the opinion of value.
1.) Subject property access: Make sure the person showing the property is on time and has access to all areas of the home including but not limited to the attic, crawlspace, garage, storage areas, and any additional structures on the property. Additionally the person showing the property would want to make sure that they specifically point out the use of Carbon Monoxide Detectors (CO), Smoke Alarms, and the Double Earthquake Strapping of the Hot Water Heater. Some states require that these items be in use or the report will be made “Subject to” the completion/repair of the items.
2.) Make sure your appraiser knows your neighborhood. If you find out that the appraiser is not local and has traveled a significant distance to appraiser your home, you may want to contact your lender. Good AMCs assign appraisal assignments based on geographic competency and product knowledge. If your appraiser is not familiar with your neighborhood this could spell bad news in determining the value of your home. By alerting your lender they may have a window of opportunity to have the appraisal reassigned to an appraiser that is more familiar with your area.
3.) Provide your own comparable sales: Work with your Real Estate Agent or search sites such as Zillow and Trulia to help find homes in your neighborhood that are similar and that have sold in the last 6 months. Remember your suggested comps are simply suggestions and will not necessarily make it to the report, however by suggesting recent comps or sales in your neighborhood that have “closed” can make the appraiser aware of sales that have not made the MLS (Multiple Listing Service). You Mortgage Loan Professional & Real Estate Agent are the best sources of information.
4.) Clean up: Every body loves a clean house! Avoid clutter and messy rooms. Appraiser rate the condition and quality of the home. It is much easier for an appraiser to view a clean home then to guess whats under the surface.
5.) Provide a list of improvements: If you have made improvements over the years make sure the appraiser has a list of whats been done. Sometimes the Underwriter who is reviewing the appraisal report will have questions on why a home has increased in value and the appraiser needs to state any improvements recently made to the home. Providing this list kills 2 birds with one stone. It helps the appraiser justify his reporting of an increase in value and gives validation to the Underwriter on why the home has gone up in value.
6.) Talk up your neighborhood: If your town has added new and exciting business, restaurants, developments, museums, parks or other amenities they let the appraiser know why it is great to live in this area.
7.) Use a FULL FEE Appraiser: Last but not least make sure you lender is using a FULL FEE Appraisal Management Company. Many lenders have caught on to the benefits to using a FULL FEE AMC and seen the quality that results in using local professional appraisers that are compensated in FULL, while other lenders prefer to use the cheapest appraiser and run the risk of losing quality. Local FULL FEE Appraiser make all the difference and when you have your home on the line its not worth the risk in ordering a cheap appraisal.
Please enjoy our suggestions and good luck with your appraisal process.