If you are selling or refinancing your home, it will be to your benefit to see that the appraisal process goes smoothly. There are several things that you can do prior to the arrival of the appraiser that can ensure a proper and accurate appraisal.
In most cases, lenders want the appraisal to reflect the “as is” status of the property. This means that the appraiser needs to have access to all areas of the home. Otherwise, the appraiser will need to make the appraisal “subject to” certain assumptions about areas the appraiser cannot access and the lender may refuse to make the loan. To facilitate access, you can:
- Make sure that all rooms can be entered by the appraiser. For example, if some family members work nights and sleep days, arrangements will need to be made for the appraiser to view all rooms.
- Ensure that appraiser has clean and dry access to crawlspaces and attics. Access doors must be opened so the appraiser can at least conduct a “head and shoulders” viewing (for FHA loans only).
- Garages, storage areas, closets, basements, etc. all must be viewed by the appraiser.
- The appraiser will be taking interior and exterior photographs
Legal and Title Issues
No one wants to delay a transaction over legal or title issues. Things like easements or encroachments are often unapparent to the appraiser but show up later when the lender has the legal work prepared. Depending on the nature of the legal or title issue, the lender may then need to contact the appraiser to consider the impact the issue may have on the appraisal, and the appraiser may even need to revisit the property, adding expense and delay to the process. If you have information on any of the following, please have it available to the appraiser.
- Title work
- Information on easements or encroachments
- Copies of permits for additions or recent work on the house
- Property survey
- Information on the previous sales history of the home
- Recent tax bill
- Information on private road, if applicable
Generally speaking, the more information that is available to the appraiser, the faster the process will go. If you have any of the following information, please have it available for the appraiser.
- Copies of previous appraisals
- Copies of home inspections
- Copies of current or previous sales agreements
- Copies of any current or previous listing agreements
- List of any personal property being sold with the home
- Plans and specifications for original structure and additions, if applicable
- Any other information you feel may be useful to the appraiser