Every week, we ask a real estate professional for their Short List, a collection of tips and recommendations on an essential topic in real estate. This week, we talked with Steve McKenna, Realtor with Bowes Real Estate, Real Living about the best ways to ensure a smooth appraisal process.
Hot housing markets in and around Boston have seen a rapid increase in home values, and decreasing inventory over the past few years which makes the appraiser’s job even more difficult. Compound that with a having to cover large geographic areas and it’s easy to see why they may not have expertise on specific neighborhoods within your town. One of the best ways to avoid potential issues with the appraisal is to be prepared and be helpful. Here are a few tips I suggest as you prepare for the appraiser.
1. Have a detailed listing package on your listing for the appraiser with the following information:
a. A floor plan – this makes their job easier, saves time, and provides detailed information on room sizes and layout.
b. Provide the square footage, details about the property and the list of improvements.
c. If possible, have a plot plan or block plan depicting the configuration of the lot.
2. Provide the appraiser with the signed Offer or Purchase & Sales Agreement. Also, if relevant, provide details on the number of offers received and if there was overbidding.
3. Have the best comparable properties you feel are similar to the subject property. Be specific with appraiser about certain homes you feel are most comparable and why. Sometimes your knowledge about the neighborhood and recent sales can be extremely helpful. Make sure you have at least 3 homes that are for sale, under agreement and recently closed.
In the end, more information is better. How appraisers value a home is only as accurate as the data they have to support their decision. It is a quantitative process and they have to base their valuation on information that by nature is ‘old.’ If you can make the appraisal process easier, then you have represented your client with the best possible service and that’s one less last minute crisis you have to deal with. As we all know, buying and selling a home is very emotional. If you can eliminate the stress of a poor appraisal it puts you one step closer to a guaranteeing a successful closing.