Order an Appraisal
For homeowners, an accurate and professional real estate appraisal is the linchpin to buying or selling their home in a financially prudent manner. It presents an educated, neutral opinion of market value that facilitates all transactions among the buyer, seller, real estate agent and mortgage lender.
Before an appraiser arrives, here are three things you should know.
• By law, an appraiser must be state licensed to perform appraisals prepared for federally related transactions.
• Also by law, you are entitled to receive a copy of the completed appraisal report from your lender.
• Once your appraiser arrives, you won't need to accompany him/her on the entire inspection. However, you should be available to answer questions about your property and be willing to point out any home improvements.
To facilitate the appraisal process, it's beneficial to have the following documents ready for the appraiser.
• A plat of survey (a document you received at your last closing showing your lot and house dimensions).
• Information on any sales or listing of the property within the last three years.
• Any written property agreements (such as a maintenance agreement for a shared driveway).
• A list of any personal property that is to be sold with the home.
• A title policy that describes any encroachments or easements.
• Your most recent real estate tax bill and/or legal description of the property.
• Home inspection reports including termites, EIFS (synthetic stucco wall systems), septic systems and wells.
• If listed by a Realtor, a copy of the current listing agreement and broker's data sheet.
• A copy of the Purchase Agreement/Contract if a sale is pending.
• Information on any Homeowners Association or condominium covenants and fees.
• A "brag sheet" that lists any major home improvements and upgrades, the date of their installation and their cost For example, the addition of central air conditioning or roof repairs. If readily available, please have the building permits that confirm those improvements.
Here are some other suggestions.
• Accessibility: make sure that all areas of the home are readily accessible, especially the attic and crawl space.
• Housekeeping: appraisers see hundreds of homes each year and look past most clutter. But they are human beings and a positive impression can translate into a higher home value.
• Maintenance: repair minor things like leaky faucets, missing door handles and loose trim.
• FHA/VA inspection Items: if you're applying for a FHA/VA loan, be sure to ask your appraiser if there are specific things that should be done before they arrive. Some items they may recommend might include: installing smoke detectors on all levels (especially near bedrooms), installing handrails on stairways more than three steps high, remove peeling paint and repainting those areas, providing inspection access to the attic (having a ladder available) and crawl space.