If you are selling or refinancing, the lender will have your home appraised.
It’s different from a home inspection. A home inspector is primarily preoccupied with the internal workings of a home, and looks for current problems or things that could become a problem.
An appraiser is trying to determine the value of your home, comparing it to prices of similar homes in the area, and weighing the location of the home including neighborhood and proximity to schools.
The appraiser will look at the size of the lot and the condition of the home itself.
An appraisal is key to selling a home, since a low valuation might force the seller to reduce the price. A higher valuation might come in handy, however, if you are refinancing, giving you extra equity in your home and making a loan deal easier.
Some say there is no point in doing a complete house cleaning for an appraiser, but that isn’t necessarily true. A clean, well-groomed home inside and out, can help boost the evaluation of how well a house is maintained. They look for signs of neglect such as appliances that don’t work, floors that are damaged, carpets that are torn or dirty. Even paint can be a factor.
If you are preparing for an appraisal, do make sure your home is clean and tidy inside and out: Mow the lawn, pull weeds, put away lawn equipment. Get rid of clutter.
Remember the appraiser will take photos. Tidy up the pool area, if you have one, as well as the bedrooms and baths.
If you have pets, be sure to confine them during the appraiser’s visit, if for no other reason than to be polite. But you might also consider how the cat’s litter box will look on film.
The appraiser will also find out the age of your home and evaluate its effective age. Doors, lights and windows should all work.
It’s best not to trail the appraiser around the house, but you could point out things like a recent renovation of a kitchen or bath.
Just try to make your home appear maintained, loved, and up-to-date.