A too-low appraisal can wreak all sorts of havoc on the sale of your home. Often, lenders and banks will back out of a purchase if the property is appraised for less than the offer, taking your buyer with them.
So what can you do? Generally speaking, unless you have the time and money to make major improvements to your home, you’re not going to see drastic increases. But that doesn’t mean that paying attention to the smaller things won’t give your valuation a boost. How much depends largely on you individual circumstances, but here are a few tips to get you started.
1. Consider your curb appeal. First impressions matter, and most appraisers will consider your outdoor spaces just the same as they consider any other room in your home. What’s more, it’s very easy for them to judge where you sit in the neighborhood with just a glance around.
While appraisers take things like lot size and location into consideration, there are a few things you can do to make a good impression. Make sure your land looks well-kept and usable, and that your plants are all trimmed.
2. De-clutter. Just because appraisers are supposed to be objective and only take the house itself into consideration doesn’t mean they always manage it. They’re human, too, and there’s a good chance they’ll influenced by the factors they notice unconsciously—like your mess. Excessive clutter and junk may lead an appraiser to question how well you have managed the upkeep of your house. Head off these thoughts by starting your packing early.
3. Fix the little things. You’d be surprised how the little problems–the dents in the wall, the cracks on the ceiling, faulty light fixtures, leaky faucets–add up when it comes to an appraisal. Do yourself a favor and fix as much as you can first.
4. Put up some fresh paint. Whether it’s inside or outside, a fresh coat of paint makes a big difference to buyers, which means it can translate into added value from your appraiser’s point of view. Of course, remember to stick to lighter, neutral colors that will appeal the the majority of buyers.
Meanwhile, if your exterior paint job is still in good shape, consider giving it a good power-washing. This can do wonders for the appearance of a house, loosening built up dirt and grime.
5. Point out improvements. If the updates you’ve made to your house aren’t as obvious as new appliances or freshly refinished floors, don’t feel bashful about pointing them out to your appraiser. Most will want to know this information.
Of course, you also don’t want to hover while your appraiser is trying to work. A good solution? Make a list, so he or she can peruse at their own pace.