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Your Home Records Can Help Appraiser

by Eve Thompson — September 16, 2014 at 1:00 pm 4 Comments

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This is a sponsored column by Eve Thompson of Reston Real Estate. 

I recently posted some tips for getting your home physically ready for the appraisal. Whether you are selling, refinancing, or looking for a home equity loan, the shape your home is in will make a difference in the appraisal. But there are a few more things you can do to make the appraiser’s job easier.

  • The appraiser needs to know what kind of improvements you’ve made. So keep a list of anything you’ve done in the last 15 years — the date and the approximate cost. It matters whether your air conditioner is five years old or 25 years old. Something as seemingly small as replacing a toilet also counts.
  • Find a plot map of your home. Some HOAs will give you one when you buy your property. The appraiser will go look it up, but they’ll appreciate it if they don’t have to. Regardless, they need to know your property lines and the actual square footage of the structure.
  • Find comps and have copies of them. This is also something they’ll do, but if you have already done it for them, it helps — especially if it’s a recent sale that didn’t go through a real estate agent. Those comps can take a while to show up on their databases.
  • Make a list of all the improvements in the neighborhood, such as the Metro’s Silver Line coming in, a new high-end grocery store, or a recreation center — anything that makes your neighborhood more appealing to buyers. It’s unlikely that your appraiser lives in your community, so let them know what a great location you’re in!

Once you hand over your helpful information, step back and let the appraiser get to work.

By making your property look it’s best and by giving your appraiser the additional information they need to make a good assessment, you will be well positioned to get the highest valuation of your home.

  • Matt Cook

    Matt Cook

  • Matt Cook

    As an appraiser for 25 years, I am happy to look at any information the property owner thinks is relevant. However, please remember that in every appraisal acceptable to Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, we certify that we have verified from a DISINTERESTED source, any information in our report that is provided by a party with a financial interest in the sale or financing of the subject property. So, for example, if a borrower, buyer, or seller gives us a comp that did not go through a real estate agent and does not show up in our database, we have to verify that sale with a disinterested party or we cannot use it. This is important to know when a borrower starts wondering, “Why didn’t the appraiser use that great comp I gave him?”

    • Eve Thompson

      Totally agree Matt- What I encourage people to do is to make the facts about their home improvements known to the appraiser–

  • bikefriendly

    National Assn of Realtors says homes near bike/walking paths sell for 8-11% higher. If your house is right next to one of the fantastic RA trails, be sure that’s in the info you give the appraiser.

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