By Joe Pujol
An appraisal of your home's current market value is a requirement of most lenders when applying to refinance your existing mortgage loan. A professional real estate appraiser will conduct a physical, on-site inspection of the property,, research recent sales of comparable homes, and prepare an appraisal report. The report provides the lender with an independent, third-party opinion of what the home would sell for in the current market. This is to ensure the value of the property is sufficient to secure the loan as well as meet loan-to-value (LTV) ratios required for underwriting and loan approval.
What Can I Do to Effect My Home's Appraised Value?
Much of the criteria an appraiser uses for determining a home's value are items you can't change, like square footage, zip code, school district, number of rooms, garage size, and how much homes in the area have recently sold for. There are, however, important things you as an owner can do to positively affect the appraiser's report. These include:
Gathering paperwork, such as any previous appraisals (like the one done for your existing mortgage), your property survey, most recent tax bill, and association financial statements if the property is a condominium.Providing a list of any recent improvements and upgrades, especially those not easily noticed (think added insulation, a new AC system or hot water heater, kitchen countertops, etc.), along with receipts.Improving your home's curb appeal by adding plants, flowers, and landscaping if needed to give your appraiser the best first impression of a well-maintained propertyDeclutter and clean out closets, garage, and storage places.Make minor repairs to walls and fixturesFreshen paint to brighten rooms and do touch-ups where needed.Spend the money to have carpeting professionally cleaned, especially if you have pets.Be sure pets are secured or removed on the day your appraiser is scheduled to allow him or her safe and easy access to all parts of the home.
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