Be Prepared for an Appraisal for a Positive Impact on Your Home’s Valuation
Whether you’re selling, refinancing, dividing assets, settling an estate, or determining capital gains on an income property, it pays dividends to be prepared for your home appraisal.
The benchmark for your home’s worth, an appraisal is a legal document that determines the fair market value of a property. It takes the home itself, the neighbourhood and the available historical data into account to determine the most accurate valuation. If you want to refinance, sell, or buy, the appraisal provides mortgage lenders with straight facts so they can underwrite loans based on the purchase price or the appraisal (whichever is lower.) If you’re selling or dividing assets post-divorce, the appraised value ensures that you’ll receive a fair sale price.
How Do I Get Ready for the Appraisal on My House?
Thinking back to when you first listed your home, you likely cleaned it top to bottom and got it looking as good as new for the marketing materials. You’ll want to do this again for your appraisal, so your home makes the best impression possible.
To prepare, gather up all the details about your home relevant to its value. Have a record of comparable properties in the neighbourhood, plus information about neighbourhood amenities. Once that’s done, you can turn to the home’s appearance, doing any repairs and getting estimates for any larger repairs or updates that are needed. Also, don’t overlook the general condition and upkeep of your home. Essentially, you’re going to want to pretend you’re listing your home for the first time and get it looking its best, attending to anything that may have been missed when it was placed on the market.
A good rule of thumb is the $500 rule. Anything that needs to be repaired or updated usually detracts from a home appraisal in $500 increments. Things like cracked tiles, broken fixtures or an outdated countertop can add up to thousands less in your home valuation. Before your home appraisal, you’ll want to go through your home and take care of anything that costs less than $500 to fix. You’ll be able to recover those costs in your home appraisal.
On the day of the appraisal, make sure the appraiser will be able to move around the full perimeter of the home and that all rooms are accessible. You may also want to contain any pets who may be a disturbance. We’ve prepared a complete checklist to make preparing for your home appraisal as simple as possible:
Full Residential Pre-Appraisal Checklist
Information About the Home
- List of improvements made in the last 15 years, with costs and completion dates.
- Plot/blueprint or property survey.
- Home inspection reports (current and previous). If you’re unsure about the difference between each, we have a helpful blog post on home inspections vs. home appraisals.
- Copies of any previous appraisals – this can help the appraiser see how the value has changed over the years. This can help to pinpoint any trends when combined with the BC Property Assessment information.
- HOA documents – if you live in an HOA neighbourhood, the appraiser will need to see the costs, regular maintenance schedule, history of fee increases, etc.
- Any known inconsistencies with data – if your assessed property value has been fluctuating wildly over the years, this needs to be looked at. This will help ensure a fair market value.
- Any non-permitted additions – if you’ve added a permanent structure without a permit, this can impact the value of your home and pass an unwanted issue on to the buyer. It’s important to note that any undisclosed additions can cause a breach of conditions in your sale contract.
- Any easements or encroachments – any part of the property should be accounted for to get the most accurate estimate of the land value.
- The CMA (Comparative Market Analysis) from your Realtor – review this document to see if you know of any homes that were renovated after purchase. Their newly increased value can increase your neighbourhood’s benchmark prices and potentially, that of your home. Properties that have undergone significant changes may no longer be useful for the CMA.
- Nearby schools and any special notes about their programs
- Nearby parks and green space
- Amenities and shopping
- Public transport locations
- Any infrastructure that’s been added since you bought the house
- Clean up and repaint areas where paint is peeling and discoloured
- Repair or replace broken hardware
- Replace outdated fixtures
- Clean carpets and mop hard flooring
- Repair any loose floorboards, broken blinds, etc.
- Are smoke detectors working?
- Are carbon monoxide detectors working?
- Is the water heater strapped?
- Is the security system in good working order?
- Are all appliances properly installed and working?
- Note any major repairs and how much it would cost to complete them.
The appraiser will be able to factor that cost into the appraisal as if the repair or upgrade were already completed.
- Any leaks in roof or key parts of the home
- Cracks in walls or foundation
- Damage to flooring
- Damage to drywall or exterior stucco/siding
- Peeling paint
- Visible damage to doors, windows, screens, etc.
- Remove clutter and stray toys from the front and back yards
- Mow the lawn
- Tidy the garden and do a little light landscaping
- If possible, add colour with flowers
- Touch up paint where it’s needed
- Replace any broken gutters
- Update older fixtures and address numbers
- Remove any outdated décor
If you have any questions or concerns about the appraisal process, we recommend looking through our FAQ section, or contacting us by phone or email for assistance. You may also want to speak with your real estate agents about your appraisal preparation.
For even more ways to increase your home’s appraisal value, be sure to read our post on 8 ways to increase the value of your home.
D. Fritz is your residential appraisal expert for Vancouver Island, Victoria and the Gulf Islands. If you’re considering refinancing, buying or selling, our professional team will provide the most accurate and comprehensive evaluations. With a combined half century of experience across the industry in business administration, lending and real estate sales, you can trust in D. Fritz for your real estate appraisal. To order your appraisal, contact our team today.