9 Ways to Prepare for a Home Appraisal

Prep for your home appraisal with these easy tips.

While selling season takes off, homeowners are preparing to put their homes up for sale or refinance their mortgages. If this is you, you’ll want to continue reading. Right now, you’re probably looking forward to moving on to bigger and better things or saving money—in either case, you’ll want to get the best price possible for your home. That’s where a home appraisal comes in.

An appraisal determines your home’s current value, which is usually different from its original purchase price. Hopefully, if you’ve been taking care of your home and investing into its longevity (like remodelling, landscaping, and updating old plumbing or electrical) its value probably increased. Why should you get your home appraised? It’s simple: the higher the appraisal amount, the more money you’ll receive when you sell or refinance it.

If your home is going to be appraised, a licensed professional will come over, inspect and evaluate, and determine the value of your home in an open market. So how do you prepare your home for a visit from the appraiser? Use these nine tips to prepare for a home appraisal and increase your chances of favorable results!

Before the appraisal

1. Spruce it up

Knock out the easy stuff first. Touch up the paint, hang new drapes, install new faucets, doorknobs, and cabinet handles. Little changes like these can add a lot of visual appeal which will work in your favor during the appraisal. Any outdated décor can negatively impact your home appraisal; but give your home a modern, polished appearance and you’ll have a better chance at a higher appraisal.

2. Make it squeaky clean

This will take some hard work, but it’s all about creating a clean appearance that will attract buyers as well as the appraiser. Wash the walls, dust the fan blades, shampoo the carpet, and shake out the rugs. Declutter the closets, the basement, and other clutter-prone places. Power wash your decks, driveway, and the home’s exterior walls.

3. Fix and/or replace safety equipment

Test the smoke alarms, carbon monoxide alarms, and security system (if you have one). If you don’t own a fire extinguisher, consider buying one and placing it under the kitchen sink. If any of these aren’t working properly, replace them before the appraiser comes to show that your home’s safety standards are up to date.

4. Preen your yard with a fine-toothed comb

Curb appeal matters in a home appraisal! Mow the lawn a couple of days before the appraisal visit. You’ll also want to trim any unruly trees or shrubs. Make sure all pathways leading to and around your house are clear of obstacles. Put away any stray toys, bikes, or tools, and straighten the patio furniture. Plant some fresh flowers and pull the weeds from any flower beds. Mulch around the plants and trees adds a nice touch too!

5. Update fixtures and materials

There are countless DIY home improvement tutorials out there to help you get creative with your home interior updates. To give your home the modern treatment, update your countertops, remove old wallpaper, paint the kitchen cupboards, or replace old floors. Things like decades-old wallpaper and linoleum flooring can bring down the value of your home, even if they’re in good condition. Modern textures and materials like subway tile, butcher block countertops, and shiplap can instantly make your home appealing to today’s buyer.

6. Examine beyond the perimeter

Think about what has happened to your neighborhood since the time you bought it. Have any new parks, schools, stores, or other public amenities been built? New roads or footpaths? How about community gardens, farmers markets, or co-ops? If your appraiser isn’t familiar with the area, point out these features because they can add more value to your home.

7. Research your neighborhood

Are you aware that the value of other homes in the area can actually increase or decrease the value of your own? Conduct some research and find out the value of the other houses on the block, the sales prices of homes recently sold in your area, and any problems during their appraisals. These are questions you may want to ask your neighbors (if you feel comfortable doing so) or you can usually find this information on the Internet.

Day of the appraisal

8. Be critical

On the day of your home appraisal, walk around your home with a critical eye. Did you miss anything? Is anything out of place? Like preparing to host a party, make sure that everything looks top notch!

9. Tell the appraiser about improvements you’ve made

It’s O.K. to brag a little! Tell the appraiser about all the changes, replacements, and improvements you’ve made. Some of these things might not be so obvious to someone who’s visiting your home for the first time.

Are you getting ready for a home appraisal? Get in touch with us today to see how we can help you find an appraiser and prepare your home for an appraisal.

About the Author

Laura is one of our blog authors. Currently living in Charm City, she's a Great Lakes native who likes salsa dancing, brews a mean cup of Joe, and reads the Chicago Manual of Style for fun. As a young first-time home buyer, Laura likes writing educational pieces that dispel mortgage myths and give helpful hints about what the home buying process is really like.