Hello, my name is James Ebert from Ebert Appraisals and I am a seasoned real estate appraisal expert! I have performed and written over 5,000 home appraisals, and reviewed well over 30,000 listings and homes. Customers hire me each month to produce court-ready documents, for the judge and jury, and have to be prepared to undergo stiff cross examination by an opposing attorney, who tries to poke holes in my appraisal reports. Everything written is specific to and for the judge. The goal of every report is to be easily comprehensible and effective at supporting the home appraisals report.
I want to help others to get the very best outcome in a “fair market value” home appraisal. Often, throughout the real estate appraisal process, the appraiser decides how to determine value for multiple elements within a home. Such as, individual bedrooms, bathrooms, fireplaces, swimming pools, gorgeous views, and so forth. The appraiser places a value on all of these combined components and how much these home features are worth in the real estate market.
A Case Study We Performed For A Customer
What To Expect Before A Home Appraisal
An aspect to consider is the time of valuation, called the “effective date.” In some markets, the strongest overall sales will be in late spring, early summer, and the average lowest values might be during the winter holidays. How does this affect your valuation? Should you wait a couple of months, or get it going right away? Is ‘presently’ now the optimal time to sell your home?
The appraiser will be familiar with what elements may be more in demand or less valuable. In some communities, the local high school may bring a premium value to a property. A location backing to commercial shopping may be less valuable than homes further away.
We’ve composed a list of the 15 traits a home appraiser looks for when inspecting a property. Most of these can be performed by a homeowner and relatively easy to take care of over the weekend on a modest budget.
1. Clean Up the Front Yard of the House
How does it look from the street? A first impression is important when obtaining a house appraisal. Mow the lawn and trim the shrubbery to strengthen the exterior. Wipe down the front doorway and sweep the front area of the home. Consider how fresh paint on the exterior and the nearby trim might bring a nice polish to the look, even from a distance!
2. Tidy Up Before Home Appraiser Arrives
How does the driveway and front of garage look? Take 30 minutes to wipe down the garage doors and windows. If the drive way is stained or discolored, research ways to clean it up, without creating more of an eyesore. A good tip is to manicure any bushes, shrubs, and trees around the garage and windows. Power washing the drive way will rid stains and make the drive way look clean.
3. Perform Your Own Home Inspection Before Scheduled Appraisal
Walk around the outside of the entire house, as the appraiser will. Inspect every granular detail, as if your neighbor was looking at it. Fix shutters, fencing, crawl spaces, and organize lawn furniture to be inviting. Do screens need to be replaced? Replace any eyesores or furniture that are sun damaged. Have the window trim painted to feel new. Walking around the house will give you a better idea of what needs to be fixed or cleaned up.
4. Spruce Up the Home’s Eaves
Look up at the eaves, for chipped paint, dry rot, wasp nests, or other signals of needed touch up. For example, if the home has box eaves, the overhang is enclosed and may have collected water or accumulated a lot of dirt over the years. Other types of eaves should be examined thoroughly before a professional real estate appraiser arrives.
5. Check For Any Gas or Water Leaks
Sometimes on the far side of the house, one can smell gas or come across a water leak. Get in touch with the gas company or plumber right away! Take a moment to review all of the utilities located outside the house to confirm nothing is leaking or causing more damage to the house. Schedule an appointment with a professional to determine the cost of fixing and reschedule home appraisal.
6. Inspect Every External Nook & Cranny
Walk all the way around the garage and exterior of the home, inspect thoroughly. Typically, you do not view these areas regularly, but the appraiser will meticulously review these areas, and it telegraphs to the appraiser the overall care of the property. Clear a path to outside appliances, and be sure the equipment is working properly. The cleaner the exterior the higher the home will appraise for.
7. Let the Interior Breathe
Inside, clear away countertops in living room, kitchen, bedrooms, and baths. Stash as much as you can in a small tub or container, and place it in the garage, or in a nearby cabinet. This allows the features of the room, the inside lighting to shine brightly. Focus on the 4 “F’s”- features, fixtures, floors, & finishes to command the attention and showcase the bright spots of the interior.
8. The More Natural Light the Better
Open up drapes, shutters, and blinds, to allow maximum natural lighting into every part of the house. Wipe them off, add some polish, and the clean inside the window sill. Depending on the season, open up the windows to let fresh air into the house. This will allow for healthy fresh light and air into the home.
9. Install Smoke & Carbon Dioxide Detectors
Be sure to add smoke / carbon dioxide detectors to every bedroom in the house, usually right over & inside the door. Carbon monoxide detectors are easy to add, one for each room of the home. Test out every smoke detector and replace the batteries to ensure the devices work inside the home.
10. Send the Appraiser A List Of All Upgrades & Amenities
Prepare and compose a list of recent upgrades or major repairs to the property. Ask for appraiser’s email, and have your completed document ready. Email the list to the appraiser beforehand and have the list finalized for the real estate appraiser the day of the appointment. Consider also sending a list of amenities such as the neighborhood’s location, local parks, shopping areas, and the type of schools in the area.
11. Obtain Home Sale Comparables for the Appraiser
In addition, have a friendly realtor send you a short list of 3-5 similar sales in your neighborhood, that you can review, and provide a copy to the appraiser. If you have knowledge of an unusually low sale, be sure share that.
12. Have Family Away During Appraisal
Have the kids and other family members away during the appraisal period. Family can be distracting and it will only hurt your final value.
13. Offer Help to the Appraiser
Ask if they would like you to show them around. Often they have their own routine, and will kindly refuse. But it helps to offer, and walk them through, as well as through the garage / guest/ out buildings. Point out views, nearby exterior features, parks, etc.
14. Be Nice to the Appraiser
Be courteous and friendly to the appraiser, the person is only trying to help and probably coming from another appraisal appointment. Offer water or coffee. You want your appraiser to be in a good mood when touring the house. Heck why not invite them out to lunch!
15. Don’t Rush the Home Appraiser
A home appraisal is two parts. First, the appraiser must physically come to the home and tour the interior and exterior. The process can take 15 to 20 minutes or longer depending on the size of the house. The appraiser investigates the interior and exterior while taking diligent notes during the home appraisal. The second part is the report. The real estate appraiser does not begin inquiring about the appraisal report until 7 to 9 days after the appraiser has visited the property.
Bonus Tip: Ask Appraiser for Improvement Tips
Ask the appraiser for his thoughts on how to improve the market value of your home, and how to best maintain it.
Call James For A Free Quote
We’re excited to help you appraise any of your real estate in the Los Angeles & Ventura county area. We look forward to working with you and exceeding your appraisal requirements.