In the days leading up to a scheduled appraisal inspection, many transferees ask what they can do to ensure an appraiser views their home in the most positive light. Like the old adage says: “You only get one chance to make a first impression”. While this can be applied to many of life’s major events, it is particularly true in the case of a relocation appraisal.
It is important to recognize that when the appraiser arrives at a transferee’s home, he or she is at the beginning of the appraisal process, which starts with gathering information about the home and the surrounding neighborhood. Following the inspection, the appraiser will thoroughly research market activity and determine how the transferee’s home relates to the data collected. The appraiser will not actually develop the Anticipated Sales Price until the end of the process.
To ensure that the appraisal appointment goes smoothly, it is recommended that transferees have the following documents ready for the appraiser, if available:
- A plot plan or survey of the house and land
- A list of major home improvements and upgrades, the date of their installation and their cost, and permit confirmation, if applicable
- A home inspection report, or other recent reports for termites, EIFS (synthetic stucco) wall systems, septic systems and wells
- The most recent real estate tax bill and legal description of the property
- A copy of the title policy that describes encroachments or easements, if any exist
- Written property agreements, such as a maintenance agreement for a shared driveway, if applicable
- Information on homeowners associations or condominium covenants and fees
- A list of personal property to be sold with the home
The transferee does not need to accompany the appraiser during the property inspection, however, they should be available to answer questions about their home. In addition, transferees should keep the following items in mind:
- Housekeeping: Appraisers will look past most clutter, as they are evaluating the physical characteristics of a transferee’s home. The laundry doesn’t need to be done, however tidying up on the day of the appointment will go a long way toward making a good impression. (Remember, the appraiser will also be taking interior and exterior photos to include in the appraisal report.)
- Maintenance: It is recommended that transferees repair minor things like leaky faucets, missing door handles and trim, broken windows, etc. Additionally, the exterior of the home and surrounding property should be well maintained.
- Accessibility: Homeowners should make sure that all areas of the interior and exterior of the home are accessible, especially areas leading to an attic or a crawl space.
- Pets: Many appraisers love cats, dogs, and other pets, but it is recommended that they are kept out of the way to facilitate an efficient appraisal inspection process without distractions.
One last item to keep in mind: In order to maintain independence, appraisers are prohibited from discussing value issues or other details of the appraisal report with a transferee. If during or after the appointment a transferee has questions about the value or would like specific information about the appraisal report itself, that information must be obtained through their Relocation Management Company, not directly from the appraiser.