If you want to refinance your loan for lower monthly payments, change your loan term or take cash out, your home’s appraisal will play a key role. That’s because the value of your property will dictate how much your mortgage will be impacted.
So, how can you feel confident your appraiser will give your home a fair value? You can start by offering snacks and refreshments (cookies and milk are always a great option). Also, make sure to leave comments like “just painted these walls” and “sweet fireplace, right?” on sticky notes around the house.
Those tricks may have worked during the days of drive-by appraisals, but not anymore. The home appraisal process has changed over the years, and now appraisers must stick to a more regulated format that helps protect homeowners from any sort of coercion or pressure from outside parties. There is also the assurance that appraisers will execute a complete appraisal by properly inspecting the inside and outside of the property — and depending on the size of the house, the valuator could analyze your home for up to two hours.
The good news is that appraisers are required to take pictures of the living areas of your house as confirmation of your home’s condition. No more just taking their word for it, which is crucial for a refinance appraisal.
When refinancing your home, the final word on your home’s valuation comes from the appraiser. That’s a bit different from an appraiser’s data when determining the value of a home that is being sold (even though the appraisal is still a major indicator of the home’s worth, it’s not the end all during a home sale/purchase).
If you want to know the best ways to maximize your home’s appraisal, PrimeLending is here to help. Here are some tips to prepare for your home’s valuation when refinancing your mortgage:
- Ensure everything at your house is in ideal condition. You want to be certain everything works — faucets, drains, heating and air conditioning, for example — so you get the most for your home. Treat it the same as you would if you were selling your property. Even small repairs are important.
- Follow the CCC rules of appraisal prep: Cut. Curb Appeal. While I made the CCC part up, the rules still apply. Make sure the inside of your house is clean and organized. Remove any excess clutter, rearrange furniture if needed and get your living space in prime condition. The same goes for the outside of your home. Cut your grass and landscape your flower beds to enhance your property’s curb appeal.
- Schedule your appointment at a time you will be home. Be prompt and prepared.
- Remember my joking sticky note suggestion above? That wasn’t serious, but you will want to have record of any updates you have made to the house. So, if you have painted the walls, fixed your chimney, added new floors or bought any new appliances, have a file of each upgrade available for the appraiser to review.
- Have any fur babies? You won’t want them at the house when your appraiser arrives. Some people fear or are allergic to pets, so there’s no reason to risk it.
- If you’ve been saving your property tax information, HOA documents or any other important property forms, have those out and available for review.
- Your home has a REL (Remaining Economic Life). The better condition your house is in, the more life it has in it. That is a consideration for appraisers, so even if you own an older home, making upgrades can help keep it looking young, which can be a benefit in an evaluation.
When you’re wanting to refinance, get your home ready for the appraisal. It’s important to formulate a plan like the tips above and have important documents readily available — along with plenty of sticky notes and snacks.
If your home valuation comes in lower than expected and you feel it’s inaccurate, you still have options. Review the final report and make your counterpoints with facts that support your appeal. Have documentation, compile a list of comparable properties and confer with a realtor that understands your local market.
When you’re ready to get started on your refinance, PrimeLending is here to help. We’ll guide you through every step of the process and provide you with the support and service you need for a successful refinance. Contact a PrimeLending loan specialist today to get started or to ask any questions about our mortgage process.