As most lenders will tell you, it’s a good time to refinance your home and take advantage of low interest rates particularly if you live on Long Island. Part of the refinance process includes having your property value assessed by a licensed home appraiser. This individual will visit your home and evaluate the interior and exterior condition to determine its worth in today’s real estate market. Since this assessment has a major impact on the loan amount you’ll qualify for, it’s a good idea to take all the legal and ethical steps you can in order to get the highest appraisal amount possible. Here are five tips to help make that happen.
Tip #1: Improve your home’s curbside appeal
First, make sure your property is clean both inside and out. Clear your grounds of all debris; mow your lawn and trim your shrubs. Once your front and backyard are neat and tidy, focus on your home’s interior. Give every room a good cleaning and get rid of any extra clutter. Next, make any necessary repairs you’ve been meaning to get to, touch up the paint as needed, and be certain that everything is in perfect working condition.
Tip #2: Provide documentation
Put all of your home’s pertinent paperwork into a folder prior to the appraiser’s visit. Since appraisers report on upgrades, include a list of significant repairs or improvements – such as a new roof, windows, siding, landscaping, appliances, etc. – along with dates and receipts. Your most recent tax bill, property survey, and HOA papers (if applicable) are examples of other documentation you may want to provide.
Tip #3: Gather comps & background info
Researching recent comparables in your neighborhood will not only save your appraiser time and effort, but it will allow you to choose those homes with the best sale price. Be sure to only include homes that are similar to your own within a one-mile radius that have sold within the last six months. Also make sure the appraiser is familiar with your area, and let them know if your school district has received any awards or recognition.
Tip #4: Thoroughly review your appraisal
A few days after your home evaluation is complete, the appraiser will prepare a full report of your home’s appraisal amount and details on how he or she arrived at that amount. If the valuation is lower than what you believe to be accurate, you have the right to appeal the appraisal. The key in doing so is to carefully review the report and advise your lender of any errors or misinformation it may contain. According to the guidelines, the lender must consider any “appropriate property information, including the consideration of additional comparable properties, to make or support an appraisal.”
Tip #5: Be courteous!
Right from the very first phone call, make sure you are polite and pleasant to the appraiser. Be on-site the day of the appraisal and if you have pets, consider keeping them out of the house while your appraiser is doing his or her inspection. In general, your appraisal should go well as long as you’re prepared, present your documentation in an orderly manner, and have a pleasant attitude.
If you are interest in refinancing your mortgage and have any further questions, feel free to contact us. One of our licensed mortgage consultants will be happy to assist you.