An appraisal is an estimate of a property’s current market value. Accurate appraisals depend on the input of recent sales prices of comparable nearby residences, plus the appraiser’s consideration of the home’s assets and deficiencies.
Appraisal is an art not a science. In today’s buyer’s market and with the increase in foreclosures, appraisers are under considerable pressure from mortgage lenders to be conservative in the value of homes they are appraising.
There are three key steps for obtaining an accurate appraisal on your home:
- Whether you are buying, selling or refinancing, a clean home in tip-top condition is likely to get the best appraised value. If the property is messy, with junk in the yard or inside, the appraiser is likely to have a negative viewpoint even though the clutter really doesn’t affect the home’s fair market value. Appraisers will take photographs.
- Insist that your lender agree to promptly supply you with a copy of the appraisal. Technically, the appraiser is hired by the lender, most lenders will give you a copy.
- If you, the borrower, are not satisfied with the appraisal, contact the appraiser promptly by phone. Maybe the appraiser confused your home with another he viewed the same day. Point out specific errors and ask for a prompt corrected appraisal.
Appraisals may be a weak link in the home mortgage process, but they are still one of the most important! Sellers need to be aware of what the market value is to price the home correctly so that they have a sale quickly. Buyers do not want to pay more than market value, so an appraisal helps them determine the sales price!