Scheduling Your Home Appraisal
Your home appraisal plays a vital role in the process of approving your loan. Needed when refinancing or selling your home, an appraisal value establishes your property’s worth in the current market.
In charge of this process is the appraiser, an independent and qualified observer who does not represent you or the lender. He or she makes an informed valuation of your property.
The appraiser considers factors such as your home’s condition and amenities, safety features, location and neighborhood, the age of the basic systems, and the sale of other comparable properties in your area. Program-specific appraisal guidelines are also weighed.
What can you do to prepare for your scheduled home appraisal? Below are some tips to consider before your appraiser arrives.
1. Schedule the appraisal for the soonest possible date.
After Meridian sends in a request and pays for your appraisal, a local appraiser will contact you to set up your appointment.
Schedule the appraisal date for as soon as you and the appraiser can meet. Doing so will help ensure a faster closing for your loan.
In addition, your loan could undergo credit expiration and rate-lock expiration. As a result, you may need to provide additional documentation—and you know how much fun extra paperwork is.
On your appraiser’s side, he or she will need time to put an assessment together to establish your home’s value. While this usually happens in about a week, it could vary depending on how booked the appraiser’s schedule is at a given time.
2. Make sure someone is there to let the appraiser in.
Industry regulations mandate that appraisers visually inspect the outside and inside of your home. That way, their valuations consider all aspects of the home, not just the items they can see from the outside.
This is an opportunity for you as the homeowner to briefly provide documentation on any updates or upgrades you have made to your residence, such as improvements to electrical or heating systems that may be more difficult to visually inspect. Just remember: The appraiser is an independent observer. They will consider what the housing market values, not necessarily what you find valuable.
Unavailable the day of your appraisal? That won’t be a problem. As long as there is someone at your residence to let the appraiser in, the assessment can continue.
If the appraiser is unable to enter your home, you will need to reschedule your appraisal date — which could cause delays in your loan approval process.
3. Do not be alarmed that the appraiser only comes into your home to take pictures.
The purpose of an appraisal is to give your home a value based on as many relevant variables as possible. Most visits by an appraiser last around 20 to 30 minutes. To ensure that they do not overlook or forget any important permanent home features, appraisers take pictures of the home and property.
From there, most of the valuation process is done in the appraiser’s office. The appraiser researches county tax and assessment records, as well as other home sales that are comparable to yours. Features and their corresponding values are totaled up to become your home’s appraised value.
As an important side note, daytime is the best time to schedule an appraisal.
4. Tidy up your home and property to put your best foot forward.
What would you rather smell: Freshly baked cookies or pungent pet odors? Your answer probably matches what an appraiser would say.
While the value of your home will not be significantly affected by your housekeeping skills, it is a good indicator of your ability to take care of your home. It also makes the appraiser’s first impression of your property a more pleasant one.
Declutter and organize elements in each room to make them look more spacious. Clean up your yard, trim any unsightly overgrowth, and mow the grass for better curb appeal. Take out the trash and use air freshener to cover any lingering smells. And let light fill your house, either naturally or artificially.
Consider making minor repairs that can add up in the appraiser’s calculations for your home’s value. This includes, but is not limited to, fixing cracks in the wall, touching up paint, removing stains from carpets, and solving any bug problems.
5. Avoid the need for a final inspection.
A final inspection is needed when the appraiser needs to come back out to verify the quality or condition of an item on their list has been addressed. A final appraisal inspection fee can be several hundred dollars.
To avoid this, ensure that crawl spaces and attics are accessible to the appraiser. Check that all utilities and heating systems are operational, that GFCI (Ground Fault Circuit Interrupter) outlets are installed in every bathroom and kitchen, and that all remodeling projects are completed.
Many government loan appraisals, such as FHA and VA loans, have strict guidelines. On top of any major problems found in the house, the appraiser could require you to fix all minor repairs and safety concerns before signing off a value on your home. These repairs can include:
- Cracks in drywall
- Cracked and peeling paint
- Standing water
- Structural or water damage
- Cracked windows
- Missing shingles
- Loose or missing handrails on steps
Meridian Home Mortgage can help answer any questions that you might have regarding the appraisal process. If you are already in the refinance process and have questions, call or email your Loan Officer