When it comes to buying or selling property, a successful outcome often hinges upon an accurate appraisal. Unfortunately, due to unrest in the appraisal industry sparked by government guidelines imposed by the Home Valuation Code of Conduct (HVCC), securing an accurate appraisal can be hard to come by these days. Colleagues have shared many a horror story about an appraisal gone wrong and a client that’s left to pay the price.
As a member of the Top 5 in Real Estate Network®, however, I, along with my team, have learned that there are steps you can take to help ensure an appraisal accurately reflects the home’s value. Consider the following advice:
1. Keep it local.
Inaccurate appraisals are often the result of the current practice of using an appraiser who is unfamiliar with your community…sometimes, they’re even coming from another state! Talk to your agent and/or lender and insist that the appraiser involved is local and, therefore, understands home values in your neighborhood.
2. Utilize comps.
Make sure your lender and appraiser are accurately leveraging comps (comparable market sales) of local properties sold within the last six months to help appraise your home. Your real estate agent can help in this area.
3. Put your best foot forward.
If you are selling your home, make sure it’s in the best possible shape before the appraiser visit. Invest in any necessary repairs and effective cosmetic changes. Consider how your home stacks up against other homes in your neighborhood and let that be your guide.
4. Review carefully.
Review the appraisal thoroughly to make sure all the basic facts are correct: square footage, features of the home, number of rooms, etc. If you find mistakes, call the appraiser and ask to have them corrected. If the appraiser refuses to make the corrections, file a complaint with your state’s real estate appraisal board.
5. Don’t settle.
You are not bound to accept the appraisal results. Both buyers and sellers can request a new appraisal. There is no guarantee that the bank will accept the new appraisal, but it can be used to challenge the first appraisal.
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