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How to Prepare For a Real Estate Appraisal

November 6, 2014 by Bostedo Appraisal Services - the Pittsburgh Appraisers

If you are like most and haven’t had an appraisal done on your home recently, one of the first things that may come to your mind is, “What do I need to do to get ready for the appraiser?”  Here are some things you may want to consider prior to the appraiser coming to your home.

Does the house need to be cleaned?  No, not really, the appraiser’s eye is much like that of a potential buyer. While it is always nice if every home was professionally cleaned, staged and tweaked as if for an open house, but we know this is real life and with that come challenges. We here at Bostedo Appraisal Services inspect hundreds of homes a year and can look past the “messy teenager’s room” or the dishes in the sink. In fact, we look at your home as if everything in it is out in the front yard. We ONLY appraise the permanent features and do not consider any personal property. Over the decades it is a funny phenomenon that guys will let anyone in regardless of housekeeping but the fairer sex must usually have everything tidy. So don’t sweat the housekeeping.

List of updating and repairs:  The appraiser is going to ask you about recent updating and or repairs you have completed and when.  It would be helpful if you think about this ahead of time and make a list of upgrades, estimated costs, and a general time frame of when each item was completed.  Examples of items you would want to include:  new windows, roof, furnace or central air conditioning, new flooring, kitchen and bath renovations, refinished basement, recent addition, etc. These types of updates reduce the “effective age” of the home which may help it appraise for a higher amount.  You should also want to mention any special features or upgrades in your home. In fact, the best way for a homeowner to have a list is just create one on their computer and just add to it over time. This way not only will you have a list for anyone who may be interested but you will be able to keep track of the improvements you made yourself. Things do get fuzzy over time.

Survey: If you have a survey of your property it would be helpful to have this available at the time of the appraisal.  A survey is not necessary, but is often helpful especially with irregular lot sizes or multi-parcel sales.  If you have two PIN (Parcel Identification Numbers) numbers let the appraiser know.  This is not uncommon when the house sits on a double lot or when the property was purchased with more than 1 lot. However, keep in mind, if your property has more than 1 lot associated with it and the additional lot or lots are located on a separate deed than the house, these lots at this point are considered separate and will not be combined or added to the property the house is situated on.

Information on recent similar sales in your neighborhood:  If you are aware of a home in your neighborhood that is similar to yours and was recently sold as a private sale or FSBO, be sure to let the appraiser know. Also, if you have any information on similar sales in your neighborhood that are similar to yours but had extenuating circumstances (divorce, estate sale, subsidence, water damage, etc.), you will want to bring that to the appraiser’s attention.

Access is needed to all the rooms:  Be sure to let everyone know that an appraiser is coming and will need access to all of the rooms.  All appraisers should ask if they can open all of the doors and it usually isn’t a problem.  They just don’t want to surprise anyone. Also, don’t pen up Fido in the bathroom, the appraiser will need to get into all the rooms.

HOA information:  Many don’t know the difference between a Condo & PUD. Sounds like a good title for an upcoming blog. I will just say if you have to pay a fee to some type of Home Owners Association either monthly or yearly regardless of how much, the appraiser will need this information. Also the appraiser will need the name and phone number of the management company.

Complete any renovation projects prior to inspection:  While minor renovations like installing carpet in a bedroom or a little touchup painting won’t make a big difference, if you have completely gutted your kitchen or bath and removed many of the fixtures, that will most likely give you a lower appraisal value. If the appraisal is for an FHA loan you will want to watch or read the page on “Most Common FHA Repairs”.

I hope this has somewhat put your mind at ease when it comes to preparing for an appraiser and remember, don’t sweat the little stuff.

I hope you found this information helpful and if you have any additional questions please don’t hesitate to call.

Bostedo Appraisal Services – ‘the Pittsburgh Appraisers’ specializes in divorce appraisals, bankruptcy appraisals, date of death appraisals, estate appraisals, pre-listing appraisals and more throughout the Pittsburgh and 7 County region.

For more information contact us at (412) 831-1500, visit our website at PennsylvaniaAppraisers.com, or email us by clicking ‘Contact’ at the top of our page. You can also follow us on Twitter, YouTube, or “LIKE” our Facebook page as well. Also, make sure to check out our ‘Testimonials & Reviews’ page and see what others are saying about William Bostedo and Bostedo Appraisal Services – the ‘Pittsburgh Appraisers’

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