Appraising Your Home

When it comes to learning your home’s value, a licensed or certified appraiser are what matter, whether you are purchasing, selling or refinancing. Most homeowners tend to have a different value in mind than what the market shows and can easily be caught off guard when seeing their value in today’s market, especially with the home crisis we have experienced in recent years and the recovery we are currently experiencing.

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Yes, appraisers do have the final word when it comes to determining your homes value. However, a professional appraiser is not above hearing what a homeowner, real estate agent or even a lender has to say should the appraisal come in lower than expected. A recent new rule in the industry is that homeowners are given a copy of their appraisal that will tell them exactly how the appraiser came to conclusion on their home’s value. This will help the homeowner understand the system and will also help them to see whether the appraiser may have missed an improvement or bedroom, wrong square footage or something else they feel should have been taken into consideration when determining their home’s value.

When determining the value, an appraiser will take into consideration a variety of items. They will consider size, recent improvements and additions, comparable houses sold in the area and their price and active listings in the area as well as their price, including any reductions in price since being listed.

There are a few things that can hurt your current value. One of these that are very concerning to homeowners are foreclosed homes in their neighborhood. If there are only one or two foreclosures or short sales in the area and plenty of other active and sold homes, most often an appraiser will kick out the bank owned properties. However, if there are several foreclosed and short sale homes, this is something very important and can say a lot about the neighborhood and surrounding area and will be something that will have to be taken into consideration and cannot be ignored. It’s unfortunate, however necessary to give a true market value. Something else that can hinder the value of the home or cause it to be less than it could have been is the scarcity of homes sold or homes listed. If there aren’t many comparable homes to add to the equation, this could effect the outcome and makes it a bit more challenging to determine true value.

When purchasing a home, if the appraisal comes in less than the agreed upon price, the buyer will go back to the seller and attempt to renegotiate the price, unless they want to bring excess money to the table. However, if you want to appeal the appraisal, that is an option. Oftentimes when this happens, the representative of the buyer, their real estate agent or lender, will submit data that they feel supports a certain price so that the appraiser can review. They may also submit additional information that they feel was omitted from the appraisal report. As long as one does their homework and submits intelligent data and information, an appraiser is more than willing to review and see if he feels that data justifies an increase in price. Giving as much information as well as pictures and correcting mistakes seen on the report (such as missing bedrooms, square footage, finished basement instead unfinished, 2 car garage instead of 1 car, etc.) Sometimes when homeowners use a particular room for a bedroom, such as one in the basement, they may think the appraiser has made a mistake in not counting this room. Depending on where you live though, chances are, additional rooms in the basement will not add any value to the home. They may be a good selling point and help in marketing, however, this will not add value.

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All in all, appraisers are not there to de-value your house. They are there to give unbiased true value information to help you. If you are re-financing, they won’t want you to refinance for more than the home is truly worth. If you are buying, they don’t want you to get a loan for more than what the home is worth. An appraiser has everyone’s best interest in mind. They can only give what the market tells. Nothing more. Nothing less.