Pricing your home can be a tricky maneuver, requiring a knowledge of the market most homeowners don’t possess. For that reason, many real estate agents recommend a professional appraisal before putting a home up for sale. This appraisal will give a homeowner a firm idea of how much the market will bear, preventing him from selling his home for less than its worth. In other cases, a buyer brings an appraiser in to price the house as a means of ensuring the asking price meets the home’s value.
Someone who has never used an appraiser may not know what to expect when the appraiser arrives. The process is relatively painless, with the appraiser usually examining the property inside and out to locate any upgrades that might raise the home’s value. By making some upgrades prior to the appraiser’s arrival, you can get an increase in the official value that will serve as justification for your pricing if a buyer questions it.
That leaky faucet that always bothers you could cost you when it comes time to sell. Before the appraiser arrives, fix any issues, even if it means bringing in a professional plumber. An appraiser may try every light switch and flush toilets to make sure everything is in working order, so fix any issues with those before your appraisal date. Have your air conditioning system cleaned and checked, as well as any other mechanical equipment you have in your home. Even small things like damaged walls and broken baseboards can slow down the appraiser’s work as he struggles to make notes on each thing he sees. At the end of the process, these small items will likely add up to a lower value.
Prior to listing your home, you’ll be advised to box up any clutter and remove it from the house. This process creates a clean, open feel to your house that makes it more marketable. If you’ll complete this task before the appraiser arrives, you’ll make it easier for him to do his job, keeping walkways free for him to maneuver. On a subconscious level, even the most seasoned appraiser will get a better feeling about a home that feels clutter-free than one that looks like it might be featured on the next episode of Hoarders.
Study the Market
The internet makes it easy to conduct thorough research into the selling price of homes in your immediate area, but your research doesn’t have to stop there. Search for comparable homes in your city that are both for sale, as well as those that sold in the last year. If you see a home of your size featuring similar amenities that sold for less than you’d like to get for your home, find features of your own home that set it apart from similar homes. Do you have upgraded appliances or a kitchen remodel that might make it more valuable? If so, be sure to mention these items to the appraiser.
For someone who is new to the home-selling process, an appraisal can seem daunting at first. However,a few small steps at minimal expense can make a big difference in the valuation of your property, eventually leading to a higher sales price at closing.
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