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Four things you should tell clients about appraisals

Prepare homeowners and minimize appraisal surprises
Posted: November 12, 2019 by Amy Swinger

The appraisal process can be a bit unnerving for homeowners. There’s likely to be some anxiety about how much their property will be valued at, and most homeowners will need some input about changes they can make, if any, to maximize their home’s appraised value. 

As a Realtor, you can help guide them through the process, and your expertise will no doubt be greatly valued by your clients. By giving them a realistic picture of what to expect, you may be able avoid appraisal surprises, not to mention disappointments as a result of unrealistic expectations. 

To get everyone on the same page, here are four things you should tell your real estate clients about appraisal of their property. 

What homeowners should know about appraisals

1. Aesthetics aren’t the be-all end-all
Homeowners who have invested a lot of money in improvements and upgrades may be surprised to find out that their investment doesn’t necessarily translate into an increased appraised value. It’s a tough thing for many homeowners to wrap their heads around, particularly when they’ve made major changes like flooring upgrades, kitchen improvements and more. Be sure to discuss with your clients what they can expect realistically for these upgrades — managing expectations goes a long way toward building trust. 

2. Gather all applicable documents

It’s important to advise homeowners that they’ll need to assemble any documents they have related to the home, including information about the appliances, the square footage, the roof, permits for renovations to the home and more. In addition, if repairs have been made to the property in the wake of a natural disaster, the appraiser will need the paperwork including permits. Selling homes that have been damaged by storms can be tricky, and it’s important to show that repair work has been done correctly. 

3. A square foot is not a square foot

Homeowners may be surprised to know that not all square footage is created equal. For example, a finished basement will not carry the same weight as portions of the home that are above ground. More, an addition or shed may not have the same value as square footage in the main home. Be sure to brief your clients so they are prepared for this likelihood, as it will eliminate confusion. 

4. Do cleaning and decluttering beforehand

The value of a home will not be affected by uncleaned spaces at the time of appraisal, but that doesn’t mean homeowners should just put their feet up. In fact, if major clutter is an issue it can actually impede the appraiser’s work, which can lead to issues. In addition, a homeowner who is puttering around and trying to clean and organize during an inspection may be in the way. Encourage your clients to declutter their home and get a good cleaning done before the appraisal. An organized home, yard and garage ensures that the appraiser can access all areas of the property and provide a more accurate evaluation. 

As a Realtor, your expertise is key
As a Realtor, you are the homeowner’s partner throughout the selling process. Informing your clients about these important appraisal matters will help smooth the way for a seamless appraisal and property sale. 

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