Appraisal House Blog

Sellers & Homeowners: How to prep for an appraisal
September 21st, 2008 6:45 PM

First of all, understand that our job is to determine what the value of the house is "as empty", meaning that we don't particularly care how your furniture is arranged, or the quality of your artwork.  However, that being said, we are human and likely prone to making some subconscious interpretations about how well the house has been maintained.  I will see a neat and tidy house and on some level automatically assume that the owners care about the property and have done the necessary work to maintain it.  (This is not what I assume with a "flip" property, but more on that in another post.)  Conversely, when I see a house with an overgrown yard, or with trash in the yard, rooms and garages piled high with decades of misc "stuff", I have to assume that if it is too much trouble to trim the bushes annually it is probably too much trouble to deal with a dripping noise in a wall somewhere.  So the bottom line is, a cleaner, neater house will never hurt you. 

At the same time, don't go overboard getting ready for an appraisal inspection.  You don't need to put on a new roof, or paint the house, spend $10k on landscaping, or even steam the carpet because the appraiser is coming.

We will usually take photos of the front and back of the house, the kitchen, living areas, baths, and a representative bedroom or two.  So make the bed, put your more personal items away (the things people leave on bathroom counters and headboards when strangers are visiting never ceases to amaze me), shove misc clothes and boxes into the closet, and put the dishes and food away in the kitchen. 

Other things to do? 

  • Make your attic accessible if at all possible.  Sometimes they are easy to get to (a pull-down staircase), and other times it is a scuttle hole in a tiny bedroom closet.  For many appraisals, we are required to at least get our head and shoulders into the attic to view it. 
  • If you are on a pier & beam foundation, please remove the access panel (if there is one).  Similar to the attic, we need to get at least a peek under the house.
  • Make sure that we can see ALL of the house while we are there.  If a door is shut and locked and your teenager/relative/guest is sleeping or has the key, we will have to come back, which means someone is going to incur an additional trip charge and delay the process.  We know it sounds stupid and it's just like all the other rooms, but occasionally it isn't, and we are not going to risk getting sued because we didn't take 10 seconds to look in the room.  As I mentioned above, if you have fashioned a Domination" room or have a stripper pole, all those items are considered "personal property" and don't count towards your value, so we don't care.  Most of us have already seen plenty of strange stuff, so unless you are doing something illegal, it is not going to phase us.
  • Let us know if there are any easements or encroachments on your property.  Do you share a driveway?  Is the neighbors fence a foot onto your land?  We will find out eventually, so it speeds up the process to know in advance.
  • Make a list of any improvements you have done in the past 2-3 years.  (See my other post concerning "Maintenance vs. Improvements"). 
  • For large homes, a set of blueprints is always nice to have.  And it might get us out of your house a little faster!   


Posted in:General
Posted by Mike Lay (Austin Area) on September 21st, 2008 6:45 PMPost a Comment

Subscribe to this blog


My Favorite Blogs:

Sites That Link to This Blog: