Whether you’re selling your home or refinancing your mortgage loan, your final home appraisal is the key to determining what your house is worth.
As a result, maximizing your home appraisal value can mean more profits on a sale or more savings during a refinance. Find out what factors go into your home appraisal and how to boost the value of your property so you can get the highest appraisal possible.
How home appraisals work
A home appraisal is an assessment of the fair market value of your home and surrounding property. Factors that go into home appraisals include the following:
- Previous sale prices
- Fair market value of comparable homes in your area
An appraisal usually is required when you sell your home or refinance your mortgage because the value of your home might have increased or decreased since it was last valued.
And if you’ve made upgrades or the condition of the home has worsened, the buyer or lender will want those details to factor into the current value.
It’s important to note that you don’t need to learn how to appraise your home yourself. You can hire a professional appraiser who doesn’t have any financial interest in the sale or refinancing process.
According to HomeAdvisor, an appraisal by a professional costs $327 on average. However, it can range from $225 to $450, depending on where you live.
The physical examination of your house takes a few hours or less. But it can take up to seven days total to gather data on comparable homes and file the report with the lender.
How to increase your home appraisal value
Since the appraisal is meant to be an objective valuation of your home, it’s unlikely that you’ll be able to boost the value of your appraisal with charm alone. Instead, here are some things you can do.
1. Fix minor issues
Appraisers are trained to notice even the smallest problems or blemishes. Fixing or polishing things like chipped paint, holes in walls, and wood finishes might not make a huge difference, but it can help.
“The chances of you spending a small amount of money to have your home appraise at a higher value is not the most realistic goal,” said agent Tyler Whitman of Triplemint, a real estate brokerage. “That said, if you have holes in the wall or some sort of blemish that has an easy fix, do the easy fix.”
2. Tackle a couple of major projects
If you notice that some areas of the home need an update and you can afford home improvements, take the time to do it.
“Kitchens and bathrooms tend to get the most notice,” Whitman said.
There’s no need to do a full renovation, however. For example, Whitman recommended doing a simple sanding, polishing, and refinishing of the floors rather than replacing them altogether.
“Work like this, while intensive, will certainly increase the value of your home,” he added.
3. Bolster your curb appeal
The first thing the appraiser will notice when they visit is the outside of the home, including the yard. Even if the inside of the house looks great, a bad first impression can cost you.
There’s no need to invest in over-the-top landscaping. But keeping your front yard and backyard neat, adding flowers, and making minor repairs to the driveway or porch can go a long way toward making a good first impression.
4. Collect comps
“Comps” is a term real estate experts use to describe comparable homes in your neighborhood. They give the appraiser an idea of the value of similar homes in your area.
But if the appraiser isn’t familiar with your area, they might miss one that could show a favorable value.
“I always send the appraiser the comps I used when pricing the home to make sure the value comes in where we all hoped it would,” said Whitman. He admitted the appraiser won’t necessarily use these comps in their final evaluation, but, of course, it doesn’t hurt to try.
5. Point out major home improvements
If you’ve done a lot of work renovating your home, don’t let it go unnoticed. Whitman shared his frustration about the fact that some appraisers in New York City don’t notice major improvements on their own.
“The appraiser will often compare it to the same unit that just sold upstairs for less money but not notice that this home has a brand-new kitchen and bathrooms,” he explained.
Prepare early for your home appraisal
Don’t put off preparing for your home appraisal until the last minute.
Start making improvements early so you can address issues or mistakes that come up during the process. Do what you can to spruce things up, but don’t sink so much money into the improvements that you won’t recoup the costs.
If you prepare early and properly, you’ll have a better chance to score a high appraisal value, which can help you meet your home sale or refinancing goals.
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1 Important Disclosures for Earnest.
To qualify, you must be a U.S. citizen or possess a 10-year (non-conditional) Permanent Resident Card, reside in a state Earnest lends in, and satisfy our minimum eligibility criteria. You may find more information on loan eligibility here: https://www.earnest.com/eligibility. Not all applicants will be approved for a loan, and not all applicants will qualify for the lowest rate. Approval and interest rate depend on the review of a complete application.
Earnest fixed rate loan rates range from 3.89% APR (with Auto Pay) to 5.87% APR (with Auto Pay). Variable rate loan rates range from 2.47% APR (with Auto Pay) to 5.87% APR (with Auto Pay). For variable rate loans, although the interest rate will vary after you are approved, the interest rate will never exceed 8.95% for loan terms 10 years or less. For loan terms of 10 years to 15 years, the interest rate will never exceed 9.95%. For loan terms over 15 years, the interest rate will never exceed 11.95% (the maximum rates for these loans). Earnest variable interest rate loans are based on a publicly available index, the one month London Interbank Offered Rate (LIBOR). Your rate will be calculated each month by adding a margin between 1.82% and 5.50% to the one month LIBOR. The rate will not increase more than once per month. Earnest rate ranges are current as of Month/Day/Year, and are subject to change based on market conditions and borrower eligibility.
Auto Pay discount: If you make monthly principal and interest payments by an automatic, monthly deduction from a savings or checking account, your rate will be reduced by one quarter of one percent (0.25%) for so long as you continue to make automatic, electronic monthly payments. This benefit is suspended during periods of deferment and forbearance.
The information provided on this page is updated as of 08/21/18. Earnest reserves the right to change, pause, or terminate product offerings at any time without notice. Earnest loans are originated by Earnest Operations LLC. California Finance Lender License 6054788. NMLS # 1204917. Earnest Operations LLC is located at 302 2nd Street, Suite 401N, San Francisco, CA 94107. Terms and Conditions apply. Visit https://www.earnest.com/terms-of-service, email us at email@example.com, or call 888-601-2801 for more information on ourstudent loan refinance product.
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2 Important Disclosures for Laurel Road.
Laurel Road Disclosures
Savings example: average savings calculated based on single loans refinanced from 9/2013 to 12/2017 where borrowers’ previous rates were disclosed. Assumes same loan terms for previous and refinanced loans, and payments made to maturity with no prepayments. Actual savings for individual loans vary based on loan balance, interest rates, and other factors.
Application detail: 5 minutes indicates typical time it takes to complete application with applicant information readily available. It does not include time taken to provide underwriting decision or funding of the loan.
Instant rates mean a delivery of personalized rates for those individuals who provide sufficient information to return a rate. For instant rates a soft credit pull will be conducted, which will not affect your credit score. To proceed with an application, a hard credit pull will be required, which may affect your credit score.
Total savings calculated by aggregating individual average savings across total borrower population from 9/2013 to 12/2017. Individual average savings calculation based on single loans refinanced from 9/2013 to 12/2017 where borrowers’ previous rates were provided. Assumes same loan terms for previous and refinanced loans, and payments made to maturity with no prepayments. Actual savings for individual loans vary based on loan balance, interest rates, and other factors.
3 Important Disclosures for SoFi.
4 Important Disclosures for LendKey.
Refinancing via LendKey.com is only available for applicants with qualified private education loans from an eligible institution. Loans that were used for exam preparation classes, including, but not limited to, loans for LSAT, MCAT, GMAT, and GRE preparation, are not eligible for refinancing with a lender via LendKey.com. If you currently have any of these exam preparation loans, you should not include them in an application to refinance your student loans on this website. Applicants must be either U.S. citizens or Permanent Residents in an eligible state to qualify for a loan. Certain membership requirements (including the opening of a share account and any applicable association fees in connection with membership) may apply in the event that an applicant wishes to accept a loan offer from a credit union lender. Lenders participating on LendKey.com reserve the right to modify or discontinue the products, terms, and benefits offered on this website at any time without notice. LendKey Technologies, Inc. is not affiliated with, nor does it endorse, any educational institution.
5 Important Disclosures for CommonBond.
6 Important Disclosures for Citizens Bank.
Citizens Bank Disclosures
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