Preparing for an Appraisal: Tips to Get a Higher Valuation

How do you make the most of your home appraisal?

Appraisal preparation is straightforward – most of the value of your home is already set and there isn’t much you can do at the last minute to improve the outcome.

Three Quick Home Appraisal Tips:

  1. Declutter so the appraiser can SEE your home.
  2. Make sure each room is accessible.
  3. Prepare a written list of recent improvements.

FHA Note

One specific situation where you can influence the outcome of the appraisal inspection is when you are the seller of a home that is going to be purchased by a buyer who is getting an FHA loan. These inspections must be performed by an FHA appraiser and the property must meet certain criteria for safety and soundness before the loan will be approved. Read our page on FHA Appraisal Guidelines for more detailed information on the types of repairs that must be made, and the repairs that are not required for an FHA loan.

Appraisal Preparation: House Appraisal Tips for a Smooth Inspection

Even if you can’t change the Market Value of your real estate at this point, you can make the appointment with the appraiser go more smoothly by appropriate appraisal preparation.

Please gather up these documents and have them ready for your appraisal appointment:

  • A survey or plot map of the property and building (if you have one available).
  • Any records of the last purchase of the dwelling in the last three years.
  • Information on any written private agreements, such as a shared driveway with a neighbor.
  • If there are any known encroachments please provide a copy of the title policy (would be included with your original closing documents).
  • Detailed information about the age and condition of the roof, HVAC systems, and major appliances. For any DIY projects it’s helpful to provide copies of the original permits.
  • A list of any recent home improvements and upgrades, the date of their installation and their cost (for example, the addition of insulation or roof repairs) and permits (if available). This is especially important for any additions you’ve made which have expanded the size of your home.
  • If your home is a condo, a copy of the “Homeowners Association Documents” as well as the name and contact information for the management company.

The appraiser will then perform the inspection, which includes measuring the exterior of the home (and the interior, for the garage and upstairs spaces). He will also take photographs of the interior and exterior, and of many of the interior spaces, including the kitchen and bathrooms.

The typical appointment for a 2500 square foot house will take less than 45 minutes.

Give the Appraiser Space to Work Comfortably

Please make sure to give the real estate appraiser room to work uninterrupted but please make yourself available to answer any questions.


Other Suggestions You May Find Helpful for Preparing for an Appraisal:

  • Make your home accessible: Make sure that all areas of your home are accessible for the appraiser, especially the attic and crawl space.
  • Pay attention to the housekeeping: A good first impression can mean a higher value for your home because the appraiser is better able to see the characteristics that add value to your home if they’re not buried in stuff.
  • Work on your maintenance items: Make sure to fix all small things like any leaky faucets, missing doors, missing fixtures, and paint.
  • FHA Inspection requirements: Make sure that there are banisters on all stairways, make sure that there are electrical receptacles in every room and that each outlet functions properly, eliminate pull chain fixtures in all areas other than the attic or basement, and make sure all utilities are on so a proper inspection of the HVAC system can be performed. Please see our series of articles on FHA Appraisals for more detailed information on the requirements, guidelines and preparation for an FHA Appraisal.