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How to prepare for an appraisal

If you’re about to put your Maine home on the market, you’ll want to take some time to prepare for listing it. Through the process of selling the home, you’ll generally need to have an inspection and an appraisal. While that’s not the case in all sales, it’s the “norm,” and very common. Many people get ready for the inspection as much as they can, but few people give any thought to the appraisal. Rather than ignore it and just hope it works out okay, though, there are some things you should consider and you will also want to make sure it is “show” ready for the day that the appraiser comes by.

First, be realistic with your selling price. It really doesn’t matter what someone will pay for the property, if the property won’t appraise for that. Of course, that isn’t an issue in a cash sale. But with a buyer who needs a mortgage (which is the majority of buyers), the appraisal can make or break the sale. Don’t underestimate pricing your property accordingly, so you don’t end up frustrated at the loss of a sale due to a low appraisal. By working with a Realtor, you can arrive at a sales price that’s likely to appraise, so you’ll have less to be concerned about when you do get an offer.

Second, make sure your Realtor makes notes of upgrades. There are plenty of things you can’t easily change about your house, like the square footage or the location. Fortunately, though, there are plenty of changes you can make that can help raise the value of your house. The appraiser is going to look for all kinds of things, but the color of the walls or what type of carpet you have won’t really make much difference. Very expensive flooring coverings, a high-end kitchen, and other items that add a lot of value may be included in the appraisal.

Of course, you want to make sure the appraiser knows about significant renovations. For example, if you’ve added a second bathroom, or redone your basement and added bedrooms to it, those things can add to the price your home will appraise for. Sometimes, there will be thousands of dollars worth of difference between what the home used to be worth and the appraisal value after renovations. If that’s the case, you don’t want the appraiser to miss any of the remodel. It’s hard to get an appraisal changed, so you need it to come out right the first time.

Third, don’t forget about permits. If you made any improvements to your house, there should have been permits pulled for the work. That’s especially true with plumbing and electrical, but many areas require permits for other changes, as well. If you did the work yourself – without the needed permits – that could lower your appraisal and raise questions at the inspection, as well. It’s always better to have everything in order before you list the house. Then there are fewer surprises as you move through the sales process from listing your Maine home to closing and turning over the keys to the new owner.