Make the most of your home ap­praisal

The Progress-Index - At Home - - NEWS -

When home­own­ers think about ren­o­vat­ing their prop­er­ties, many first need to se­cure some fund­ing to fi­nance such projects. Some may tap into the eq­uity of their homes by re­fi­nanc­ing an ex­ist­ing mort­gage, while oth­ers may ap­ply for home eq­uity loans. Tak­ing the lat­ter ap­proach may re­quire cer­tain steps, in­clud­ing an as­sess­ment of how much the home and prop­erty is worth.

Home ap­praisals com­pare your home to neigh­bor­ing prop­er­ties to de­ter­mine your home's cur­rent mar­ket value. Home­own­ers can fa­cil­i­tate the process by hav­ing cer­tain in­for­ma­tion read­ily avail­able for the ap­praiser. When pre­par­ing for ap­prais­ers, home­own­ers should con­sider and col­lect the fol­low­ing in­for­ma­tion:

If your home was built on the largest lot in the com­mu­nity.

If you have made sig­nif­i­cant up­grades since it was last ap­praised, such as in­stalling a new roof or sid­ing. Don't over­look smaller ren­o­va­tions, like ex­tra in­su­la­tion added or seal­ing drafty win­dows, which can in­crease a home's value.

Proof that you have used sus­tain­able re­sources or if you par­tic­i­pated in any en­ergy-sav­ings pro­grams.

Nat­u­rally, any ex­pan­sion projects, such as adding an­other bed­room or ex­tend­ing the foot­print of the home, should be men­tioned.

A real es­tate ap­praiser is a cer­ti­fied, li­censed pro­fes­sional who will do his or her best to de­ter­mine the value of your home. The ap­praisal pro­vides banks with in­for­ma­tion that can tell loan of­fi­cers if the house is worth the loan amount. Ex­pect to pay a fee for the ap­praisal, which is gen­er­ally in­cluded in your closing costs.

The ap­praiser gath­ers in­for­ma­tion for the ap­praisal re­port from a num­ber of sources, but the process of­ten be­gins with a phys­i­cal in­spec­tion of the prop­erty, both in­side and out. He or she also will com­pare your home against a few oth­ers in the neigh­bor­hood, which are known as com­pa­ra­bles, or comps. Ap­praisals will be based on re­cent prices of com­pa­ra­ble prop­er­ties as well as other fac­tors.

Apart from the im­prove­ments done to the home, there are other ways to get a higher ap­praisal amount. The ap­praiser may con­sider the over­all main­te­nance of the home and prop­erty. It is wise to con­sider curb ap­peal and en­sure the home is clean and main­tained when the ap­praiser ar­rives. Mi­nor re­pairs or com­mon main­te­nance can im­press the ap­praiser. Re­mov­ing clut­ter and clean­ing up the home's in­te­rior can make the home ap­pear larger, pos­si­bly in­creas­ing its value as a re­sult.

It may be worth it to in­vest some more money into the prop­erty be­fore hav­ing an ap­praisal done. A study spon­sored by the Na­tional As­so­ci­a­tion of Re­al­tors says wood floors, land­scap­ing and an en­closed garage can lead to a more fa­vor­able ap­praisal.

An ap­praiser will spend roughly 30 min­utes in a home. Try to give that per­son space to do his or her job. Fol­low­ing the ap­praiser around dur­ing an in­spec­tion can raise a red flag that some­thing is wrong with the house that you don't want to be seen. Turn lights on through­out the house, make sure the heat­ing or cool­ing sys­tem is func­tion­ing at full ca­pac­ity and keep pets locked away. Move items that can im­pede ac­cess to base­ments or at­tics.

An ac­cu­rate as­sess­ment of the value of your home will give banks the in­for­ma­tion they need to de­ter­mine loan amounts for fu­ture ren­o­va­tion projects. Pro­vid­ing back­ground in­for­ma­tion on the home and hav­ing a well-main­tained prop­erty can im­prove the chances of a fa­vor­able ap­praisal.

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