However, there are proactive steps you can take to impress the appraiser. It pays to do those things that net you the greatest return on investment (ROI). Whether you are selling a townhouse, a condo, a container house, or a traditional home, it makes sense to prepare for the real estate appraiser's arrival.
Making your home look more expensive even when you have a limited budget is smart.
Let's take a look at 10 tips for preparing for a home appraisal that can make a huge difference in your ultimate sale price.
1. Spruce Up Your Entryway
You know the saying, “You never get a second chance to make a first impression?” This truth holds for your property. If your appraiser feels great when they first approach your property, it colors their attitude toward the rest of the process.
Start by upgrading your door. If you have a craftsman-style home, you might want to go with striking carriage doors, whereas traditional models look more appropriate on other designs. Paint it a welcoming color that reflects your home’s mood and spirit, and consider adding features like door-knockers. Real Estate agents talk about curb appeal all the time, and with good reason - it makes a big difference!
2. Organize Your Garage
Your appraisers look at every factor that influences your home’s value, including its age, location, and general condition. They also consider the features that buyers covet the most.
One of the top items on many homebuyers’ wish lists is garage storage space. Fortunately, it doesn’t cost a king’s ransom to make many such upgrades.
For example, can you line one wall with a pegboard that’s perfect for hanging all your lawn and garden equipment? You can find metal storage shelves at many hardware stores relatively inexpensively. A locking cabinet or two gives prospective buyers a place to store hazardous materials like antifreeze away from curious children. It will all be part of the de-cluttering that will make your house look better.
3. Add a Fresh Coat of Paint
Painting may rank as the most cost-effective way to prepare for a home appraisal by raising your property value. You can score the materials without too much expense, and you can save on labor costs if you DIY.
When it comes to your home’s exterior, ensure you heed all Homeowners’ Association bylaws on color choices. You don’t want to have to undo all your hard work if the board later disapproves.
When it comes to the interior, you generally want to stick to neutral colors — you want prospective buyers to imagine decorating the place themselves. However, it’s okay to create a stunning accent wall to set off your family photographs and add a splash of color.
4. Repair Your Roof
A leaky roof alerts appraisers to many other potential problems with your home. Water can get into your drywall, allowing toxic mold to fester and poison you and your family. Plus, the excess moisture can warp your studs and eventually cause your home to crumble. Before it does, you run an increased risk of fire from electrical issues.
You need to clean out your gutters in the spring, so take advantage when you have the ladder out and perform an inspection. If you notice any loose shingles or tiles, contact a qualified roofing contractor if you aren’t handy enough to do it yourself.
5. Improve Outdoor Living
Another item that appears on many homebuyers’ wish lists is a patio or deck. Given the time that many spent in confinement over the past several months, it’s understandable that outdoor living space is a hot-ticket item.
If you have an existing slab, why not extend it or cover it with stone to give it a more elegant appearance? If you have a deck, consider screening in a portion of it. You can go a step further by creating window inserts that let you use the area even during the colder months. Another feature to consider is an outdoor kitchen.
6. Maintain Your HVAC System
Your appraiser will check your HVAC system — you don’t want them to find a filthy filter. Please ensure you change it before your appraisal.
Standard advice says to change your filter every three months. However, if you smoke or have pets, you probably need to do so more frequently. If all those visitors have you concerned about your indoor air quality during COVID-19, take measures like keeping your exhaust fans and attic fan running at all times.
7. Let in Natural Light
You might have the most gorgeous home in the world, but it won’t impress the appraiser if they can’t see it. Plus, home buyers appreciate an open, airy feel, not a funeral-home atmosphere. Take down those blackout curtains and replace them with translucent models to let in the natural light.
Another option is to get rid of window coverings completely and apply a one-way window tint. This substance protects your furnishings and floors from UV radiation and increases the energy efficiency of your windows.
8. Replace That Linoleum
If you bought an older home with linoleum in the kitchen, you might be sitting on an already upgraded gold mine. For whatever reason, some folks put linoleum and carpet over hardwood floors, and a little restoration work is all you need to restore their original luster.
Keep accessibility in mind when choosing new flooring. While carpet is okay for bedrooms, consider hardwood or tile for living areas. It’s challenging for people who use walkers or wheelchairs to navigate rugs.
9. Upgrade Your Appliances
Another feature homebuyers crave is energy efficiency — more on that momentarily. If your appliances are a decade or more old, they can gobble up electricity each month.
Consider upgrading to models with a high Energy Star rating to impress your appraiser and prospective buyers. Features like a built-in water dispenser in the fridge can also add value.
10. Go More Sustainable
Finally, today’s homebuyers care about protecting the planet. Look for ways you can make your property more sustainable without spending too much cash.
For example, you can build a DIY compost bin using repurposed materials if you have a large garden area in the yard. Any homeowner can replace their old incandescent bulbs with energy-efficient LEDs.
Final Thoughts on Prepare for a Home Appraisal
The time invested in making your home look its best will really make a difference when the for-sale sign hits the lawn. Not only will you impress home buyers, but you'll also make the real estate appraiser think about what a great property you have. Having less stuff around with a de-cluttered home will also make the moving process a lot easier.
Following these tips when preparing for a home appraisal will help you get the most value during your property sale. You’ll also enjoy a more comfortable pad while you continue to call it home.
Hopefully, you can tackle some of these projects to impress the appraiser.
About the author: Rose Morrison wrote the article above on tips to prepare for a real estate appraisal. Rose is a home improvement and real estate writer. She is also the managing editor of Renovated.