Home Appraisal Tips

You may be thinking of moving on from your present home or may be thinking of a refinance to buy another one. But then, how would you determine the price you would want for your property? This is when a home appraisal or your real estate appraisal would come in handy. On the other hand, if you are thinking of a refinance, an appraisal of your home would give you an exact idea of the amount you are eligible for getting another loan. We give you some tips, which, if followed, would assure you the best possible value.

If you are thinking of a refinance, the lender would usually use the services of an appraiser that they prefer. However, on the other hand, if you want to sell your home, you can opt to choose an independent appraiser.

During the appraisal, an inspection of your home would be conducted. This would include a visual examination of your house and the condition of the bedrooms, bathrooms, kitchen, etc. The appraiser would provide an estimated value of your house, which is based on two factors. The first factor is the cost required to construct a similar house and the second element that he would consider is comparing other houses in your locality which have been recently sold.

Getting the House Ready for Appraisal

Make the House Shipshape
One of the most important home appraisal tips is to make your house appealing, you can do this by improving its exterior. The outdoor surroundings of your home should look attractive, with green grass and not dead brown one. Make sure not to leave gardening tools like lawn mowers lying around, besides keeping the plants trimmed. It’s good to have landscaped garden with ponds, gardens, etc., provided they are maintained well. Ensure that not only the overall surroundings of the house looks great, but the exterior walls are also well painted.

Clean the Interiors
A day or two before the appraiser comes, make sure that you clean the walls, kitchen, and bathroom. The most challenging part is managing the clutter. If you don’t want your house to look small and unappealing, make sure that clutter is managed properly. Even if, you are planning to take away all the furniture, it may still look dirty. Moreover, random things here and there are bound to affect the appraiser. More the space your house seems to have, more the chances of its higher valuation.

Renovate Your House
Renovation would require some money. Buyers are attracted towards renovated houses, thereby increasing the value of your house. The most important rooms which should be renovated are the kitchen and bathrooms. Try replacing the cabinetry of the kitchen, as it takes much of the wall space thereby, affecting the kitchen style. Even though the other parts of the kitchen are up-to-date, but if the cabinets are old, it would reduce your home’s value. On the other hand, the bathroom should look spacious and there should be enough storage space. If there is enough space, try to include double sinks, as they are very popular. If the floors are old, update them or else the appraiser may be put off and it may affect the valuation.

Color and Decor
Always keep in mind that buyers picture themselves living in the home they are going to buy. So, put efforts in making the house look as big as possible. The walls and floors should seem as if, they are well maintained. You need to make sure that the colors are warm and inviting, which would ensure a better deal for you. It’s affordable and easy to replace paint, so make it a point to do it before you show your house to your prospective buyers, or the bank agent if you are looking for a refinance. The decor of your house will also effect the value of your home. It may seem troublesome as you may be moving your furniture and other belongings out, but then if the buyer sees the home dirty and things scattered here and there, he is bound to have a negative impression. So make sure that your house looks spacious, large, and tidy.

Repairs
If there are any problem areas make sure you fix them. Not only would the appearance of the house be effected, but it would have an impact on the price as well. For example, if there is a leakage make sure that you fix it. You give a negative impression to potential buyers and home inspection professional by not fixing problem areas and it may get in the way of you getting a good value. If you don’t fix things, your chance of asking for a better deal would get effected.

The bottom line of home appraisal for refinancing or for selling your house is to make sure that your house is in the best possible condition. It should not only be inviting, open, and clean, it should also look as big as possible. If you keep these things in mind, the asking price would definitely increase by a great extent. On the other hand, if you are the one who wants to buy a house, don’t overlook these points mentioned above.

Home Appraisal Cost

Be it buying or selling property, there are certainly a lot many formalities regarding the same. One of such formalities is getting a home appraisal done. This procedure has its respective advantages, both for the buyer of the house and the seller of the property.

What is a Home Appraisal?

This is a process that includes finding out the current price range of a particular property. This process is useful for the buyer, seller, as well as the bank who is offering a real estate loan for the purchase. By getting a home appraisal done, the buyer can determine if the seller is demanding more money than the market value. The bank would require these documents for processing the loan request made by the buyer for the property purchase.

On the other hand, the seller would be able to find out the value that he should receive on the real estate sale. The person or agency who does the home inspection is known as an appraiser. In the home appraisal procedure; the appraiser visits the property, clicks pictures, records the site measurements, and notes other aspects of the property, and eventually provides the requester with the report.

Types of Home Appraisals

Typically, there are three types of home appraisals that are done; namely from professional certified appraisers, real estate dealers and agencies, and online home appraisals. It will not cost you anything if you do an online home appraisal. There are some websites which give you a report according to the details you enter in, the location, and other similar factors.

Realtors may even give you reports based on their level of expertise and estimation. There are chances that they might charge you some amount for the service. If you avail the services of professional certified appraisers, you will have to pay a certain amount.

How Much do Home Appraisals Cost?

The cost is generally paid by the purchaser of the property. If you choose to get the home appraised by a professional appraiser, you may have to pay somewhere around $250 to $500. For a house worth $250,000 you may have to pay $300 roughly. Some professional appraisers may give you a separate report of the property prices in your neighborhood, for which they may charge an additional $50.

The cost also depends on how big your home is and the location of the property. Bigger the real estate, more will be the cost. For example, the overall cost to appraise a family home in New York City is $350; whereas in Bend, Oregon, it is somewhere around $475.

In some areas, the cost can even go up to a $1000. If you are want to appraise a property which is to be used for income generation, the cost would be more. In some loan programs, the buyer might be required to present a ‘drive-by’ appraisal report for loan processing, which may rule out the need for a full appraisal.

For a property buyer, spending few hundred dollars on a professional home appraisal is any time better than giving thousands of additional dollars to the seller.

How to Apprais a Mobile Home

Nowadays, when people refer to manufactured homes as mobile homes, they fail to realize the subtle difference between the two. Factory built single family homes, that conform to the code laid down by the US Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), are known as manufactured homes. The HUD code for construction and safety standards came into existence on 15th June, 1976. Whereas, mobile homes are manufactured homes that were constructed prior to 15th June, 1976. Throughout this article, the term mobile has been used synonymously with manufactured.

Steps Involved in Appraisals

Despite conforming to the HUD Code of safety and quality, the per square foot cost of these homes is generally 10 to 35 percent less than that of conventional homes. Hence, their appraisal has assumed a great deal of importance in the face of increasing popularity of these homes. Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae have laid down the rules for the same. At the least, the appraiser is expected to perform the following tasks:

  • Visually inspect the surroundings and the property under consideration
  • Determine the approach to be used for real estate appraisal
  • Assuming that comparable sales approach is used, the appraiser should collect comparable sales figures for recently sold neighborhood properties
  • Check the accuracy of the collected data by comparing the figures, against the numbers mentioned in the public records
  • Document the results in the Manufactured Home Appraisal Report that can be downloaded from Fannie Mae’s website

Choosing the Appropriate Method

An appraisal is an unbiased estimate of the value of the property under consideration using the standard and approved methods. The licensing requirements for appraisers vary from state to state. While appraising a property, the absorption rate for a neighborhood is particularly important. Absorption rate is defined as the length of time required to sell off the entire inventory of houses in a given neighborhood. A duration of 6 months or more is indicative of an oversupply of houses in the neighborhood and will consequently lower the price of the property being appraised.

Comparable Sales Approach: It takes into account the price of recently sold comparable properties. A comparable property is a similar property that is located in the same neighborhood. Comparable properties are also referred to as benchmarked properties. The price of the property, that is being appraised, is equal to the approximate average of the prices of the aforementioned benchmarked properties. Since no two properties are alike, the appraiser is expected to make the requisite adjustments in order to arrive at the fair market value of the said property.

Cost Approach: This approach is suitable for owners who own the land in addition to the house. In this case, the cost of the land is estimated using the comparable sales approach or some other suitable approach. The manufactured home is known as an improvement made on the land. From the cost of the improvements made on the land, the cost of depreciation of the manufactured home is subtracted and the resultant is added to the cost of the land.

Income Capitalization Approach: In this case, the value of the property is equal to the net operating income (NOI) divided by the capitalization rate. Specialized vendors provide the market capitalization rates for different types of properties located in an area. The NOI is calculated as follows:

NOI = Gross Rent – Vacancy Charges – Operating Expenses + Operating Income

The relationship between the Capitalization Rate, the NOI and the Fair Market Value (FMV) of the property is as follows:

FMV of the property = NOI / Capitalization Rate

Hence, on dividing the NOI by the Capitalization Rate, one arrives at the FMV of the property.

Since Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac have introduced additional requirements for appraisals, it would behoove the appraisers to consider supplemental certifications to update their knowledge regarding the appraisal of manufactured homes.