Congrats, you got an offer and have successfully negotiated a deal. If that deal involves a myriad of conditions, such as a home inspection and financing, no doubt you’ll have to suffer through the visit of a bank appraiser. You may feel that you have no control over the results but actually, you can do a few things to help the appraiser out to ensure your home is seen in a positive light and therefore, is appraised at maximum value.
Provide Good Information
When a bank appraiser comes to your Okotoks home chances are it’s not their first stop in that particular day. So, often an appraiser will not spend a lot of time in your home. In fact, they can often get the job done in half an hour or less. An experienced appraiser knows when to look for when they visit. But that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t work hard to make a good first impression. You can:
- Create an information package about your home that the appraiser can take as they go out the door. It should contain some information about when the home was built, statistics such as square footage, number of rooms and lot size. Similar to what’s include in the listing. If you have any information that your real estate agent may have provided, such as similar listings in the area or the selling prices of properties in your Okotoks neighbourhood that perhaps changed hands by private sale, that might prove useful.
- You will also want to list the improvements and renovations you’ve made, listed chronologically and with details about any contractors you may have used.
You want information that will prove to the appraiser that the price you settled on, as presented by the buyer, is appropriate.
Repair What You Can
If you have an older home, an appraiser will slot your property into a certain category based on age – but also on condition. Your home might look older than it is or if your home isn’t that old and has been well-loved by your family, it may also appear to have “aged”. There are items in your home that while cosmetic will cause your appraiser to devalue it. Such as:
- Cracked windows
- Worn and dirty carpet
- Broken tiles, torn vinyl flooring
- Dog scratches on the door
Your home certainly isn’t going to be condemned over these small things but will speak to the condition of the home. And if the appraiser is acquainted with the condition other homes in your neighbourhood of similar vintage, you may have a problem if yours shows poorly.
Grime and Dirt Count
If an appraiser walks in and sees greasy finger marks along the walls, your remarks about "please excusing the mess" will be met with reassuring responses about how dirt has no bearing on the value of your home. But honestly, they may just be polite. It’s the illusion that counts. A clean home just looks better. Just like a car that’s been detailed will fetch more when you go to trade it in, it’s the impression that counts. Some buyers can’t look past paint colour even though the love the rest of the home and some appraisers can’t look past dirt and even clutter no matter how nice they are about it.
That includes curb appeal. Not much to be done in this regard during the winter – often even keeping the windows clean can be an issue. But make sure the walks are clear of ice and snow and your front step looks inviting. That will go a long way.
No doubt you have scrubbed up your house to sell. You’ve probably staged it and fixed little things. But if you’ve let it slide between showings and the appraiser’s visit you might want to get back to work. There’s nothing more disappointing that accepting an offer, especially one that’s been a long time coming, and having the appraisal come back so low that the buyer wiggles out of the deal.
Your real estate agent can assist you in preparing for the appraiser’s visit. Their job isn’t finished once the price has been negotiated. They will guide you through the entire process til the day the keys are handed over.