When you need to refinance your mortgage, it’s common for lenders to ask a real estate appraiser to assess the value of your property.
The appraiser will consider several factors, such as square footage, number of bedrooms, and current condition of the home.
While you can’t increase the square footage or number of rooms in your home in the short term, there are simple improvements you can make to help your home price better.
This article will help you understand ways to prepare for a home appraisal for refinancing.
1. Improve the exterior
An aesthetically appealing home can help your property get the most out of the appraisal process. Keep in mind that appraisers will assess both the interior condition of your home and the exterior.
If your yard is cluttered and neglected, and the exterior structure needs work, the appraiser could deduct hundreds or thousands from the value of your home.
Fix loose shutters, replace missing roof shingles and pressure clean the home to keep it looking fresh.
Spruce up the shutters with a fresh coat of paint and be honest about what you see. Spot problem areas early so you can deal with them ahead of time. Ignoring the warning signs could do more harm than good and prevent you from getting a high appraisal for refinancing.
Go beyond just mowing the lawn. Consider investing in quality landscaping to set your home apart from others in the neighborhood. Putting fresh mulch around shrubs could add to the overall curb appeal.
2. Clean up the clutter
A cluttered home could detract from the curb appeal of your property, even making the square footage look smaller. It can even distract from home improvements along the way.
Spend a few days decluttering your home before the appraisal. This could include cleaning closets, garages and the basement. You can also remove large, oversized furniture to make it look like you have more square footage.
Check all the rooms and make sure things are in their place. If necessary, rearrange the furniture so that the rooms flow while avoiding clutter at all costs. Spending time on a deep clean could pay off in the outcome of your refinance appraisal.
3. Research the neighborhood
Do some research to learn more about comparables in your neighborhood, known as comps. This will help you know what prices similar houses are selling for on the street.
For example, a neighbor’s record sale could have dramatically increased the value of your property, causing a ripple effect throughout the neighborhood.
If you take the comps and pair them with the improvements you’ve made to the home, you could receive a high appraisal for refinancing. To get an idea of how much you can save when refinancing, check out Total Mortgage’s refinance calculator.
Be sure to use relevant comps. The other houses in your comps universe have similar characteristics to yours. In other words, if your home is around 2,300 square feet and has three bedrooms, line it up with a similar property.
Go through your house and make sure every light switch, wall outlet, fan, or vent is working properly. If there are any cracks in the walls or other visible issues, make the repairs before the assessment process begins.
Even if the appraiser doesn’t check the plumbing or try all the outlets, you should still be prepared for them to do so. If the appraiser has questions for you, make sure you can provide the answers right away.
Things to check before starting the assessment process:
- Check all windows and doors
- Test heating and cooling systems
- Turn on the stove burners and make sure they are working
- Turn on the dishwasher and check the results
Observe how long it takes for your home to reach the desired temperature, especially during the winter or summer months.
5. Showcase your investments
To complement the home valuation tips for refinancing, remember that any investment you make can be reflected in the market value of the home. The same goes when preparing a home appraisal for refinancing. That doesn’t mean you have to remodel the whole kitchen or build a new bathroom, but the paint job may need some touch-ups.
Be prepared to invest in basic repairs and upgrades to boost appraised value. Use your bookkeeping skills and keep all your receipts so you can illustrate the money you’ve invested and the improvements you’ve made to the property.
6. Ask for a local appraiser
The bank chooses the expert, not you. Still, you can request a local appraiser. Ideally, the appraiser should live within 10 to 15 miles of your home. If the appraiser is not too familiar with the area, the appraisal may be lower than the actual value of your property.
A low appraisal may lead the mortgage lender to conclude that you do not have enough equity to qualify for a refinance. If this happens, you may have to pay the difference out of pocket to complete the transaction.
Explore Total Mortgage Refinance Options
These refinance appraisal tips should help you pass your appraisal. Be sure to explore Total Mortgage’s loan program options when you’re ready to refinance to find the best fit for your needs.
If you have any questions or need more information about Total Mortgage’s mortgage refinance options, schedule a meeting with one of our mortgage experts. We have branches all over the country.
Find a Total Mortgage branch nearest you or apply online and get a free quote.