When you need to refinance your mortgage, it’s common practice for lenders to have a home appraiser assess the value of your property. Appraisers will take into account several factors, such as square footage, the number of bedrooms, and the current condition of the house.
Although you can’t increase the square footage or the number of rooms in your house on short notice, you can make simple improvements to help your home appraise higher.
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 value from the appraisal process. Keep in mind that appraisers will assess both the interior condition of your home, as well as the exterior.
If your yard is cluttered and unkempt, and if the exterior structure needs work, the appraiser might deduct hundreds or thousands from your home’s value.
Fix any loose shutters, replace missing roof shingles, and power wash the house to give it a fresh appearance.
Spruce up the shutters with a fresh coat of paint and be honest about what you see. Spot any problem areas early, so you can take care of them ahead of time. Ignoring warning signs could do more harm than good and prevent you from getting a high appraisal for the refinance.
Go beyond just mowing the lawn. Consider investing in some quality landscaping to set your house apart from the others in the neighborhood. Putting some fresh mulch around the shrubbery could add to the overall curb appeal.
2. Clean Up the Clutter
A cluttered house could take away from your property’s appeal, even making the square footage seem smaller. It can even distract from any home improvements you’ve made along the way.
Spend a few days decluttering your home before the appraisal. This could include cleaning out closets, garages, and the basement. You can also remove large oversized furniture to give the appearance of more square footage.
Do a check of all the bedrooms and make sure things are in their proper place. If you have to, rearrange the furniture so that the rooms flow while avoiding clutter at all costs. Spending time on a deep cleaning could pay off in the outcome of the appraisal for your refinancing.
3. Research the Neighborhood
Do some research to learn about comparables in your neighborhood, known as comps. This will help you find out what similar houses on the street are selling for.
For example, a neighbor’s record-breaking sale could have lifted the value of your property by a significant amount, causing a ripple effect throughout the neighborhood.
If you take the comps and couple them with any improvements you’ve made to the home, you could receive a high appraisal for the refinance. To get an idea of just how much you can save when refinancing, check out Total Mortgage’s refinance calculator.
Make sure you use relevant comps. Other homes in your comps universe have similar features to yours. In other words, if your home is about 2,300 square feet and has three bedrooms, line it up with a similar property.
4. Trial Run
Go through your home and make sure every light switch, wall outlet, fan, or vent is working properly. If there are cracks in the walls or other visible problems, make repairs before the appraisal process begins.
Even if the appraiser doesn’t check the plumbing or try every outlet, you should still be prepared for them to do so. If the appraiser has any questions for you, make sure you can provide the answers on the spot.
Things to check before starting the appraisal process:
- Check all the windows and doors
- Test the heating and cooling systems
- Turn on the stove burners and make sure they’re working
- Turn on the dishwasher and check the results
Observe how long it takes your home to reach the desired temperature, especially during the winter or summer months.
5. Highlight Your Investments
To round out the house appraisal tips for refinancing, remember that any investment you make can be reflected in the home’s market value. The same holds when preparing for a home appraisal for refinancing. It doesn’t mean you should remodel the whole kitchen or build a new bathroom, but the paint job might need touching up.
Be prepared to invest in basic repairs and improvements to bolster the appraisal value. Harness your accounting skills and save all your receipts so that 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 appraiser, not you. Still, you can request a local appraiser. Ideally, the appraiser should live within a 10 to 15-mile radius of your home. If the appraiser isn’t too familiar with the area, there’s a chance the appraisal might come in for less than your property’s actual worth.
A low appraisal may make the mortgage lender come to the conclusion that you don’t have enough equity to qualify for refinancing. If that happens, you might have to pay the difference out-of-pocket to close the deal.
Explore Total Mortgage’s Refinancing Options
These refinancing appraisal tips should send you on your way to having a successful appraisal. Be sure to explore Total Mortgage’s loan program options when you’re ready to refinance to find the best solution for your needs.
If you have questions or need more information about mortgage refinancing options from Total Mortgage, schedule a meeting with one of your mortgage experts. We have branches across the country.
Find a Total Mortgage branch nearest to you or apply online and get a free rate quote.