With mortgage rates lingering at incredible lows, it would be a shame if you didn’t take advantage of this wonderful opportunity to refinance your mortgage. Your monthly savings could be exactly what the doctor ordered to help you shore up your financial stability.
As you contemplate refinancing, it might occur to you that this would also be a great opportunity to pull a little extra cash out of your home. You could use that extra money to travel or perhaps do a little something extra for the family. If you have this idea on your radar, you need to start focusing on getting the kind of appraisal that will set you up with options.
As a part of the reverse mortgage community, we know a thing or two about how you can boost the appraisal of your home. At this point, we would like to share this information with you by offering five tips for getting a higher appraisal.
1. Look at Comps in Your Area
Before the appraiser arrives, it would be helpful to you if you have a general idea about what other houses in your area have sold for recently. This will help you on two levels.
First, it will give you the basis for setting your expectations. It’s far better to have reasonable expectations going into the appraisal as opposed to setting yourself up for disappointment when the appraiser leaves.
Second, you can take those comps, go look at the applicable properties and make a reasonable comparison based on what you see outside those homes. This might give you a general idea of some of the exterior improvements you could make or need to make to perhaps increase your home’s value.
2. Make Repairs and Home Improvement
Assuming your home has a little age to it, there are likely repairs and minor improvements you can do to spruce your home up a bit. We are not talking about major renovations. You likely won’t have time to take on any big projects prior to an appraisal.
What we are referring to is making sure your home as it sits now looks appealing and functions properly. Some of the things you might want to address might include:
- Make sure plumbing fixtures work and look reasonably good. A new facet or two wouldn’t hurt
- Make sure the flooring throughout the house is clean and without damage
- Check the screens on windows and doors
- Repair any noticeable holes in the wall
- Replace doorstops and doorknobs when necessary
- Make sure to repair roof leaks
These are just a few ideas.
3. Landscaping and Yard Matter
From the curb in front of your house up to the front door is part of your home and your responsibility. Remember, your yard is the first thing the appraiser is going to see. They aren’t likely to count plants and trees, but they will pay attention to how much care has been given to the front and back yards.
You would be amazed at what a few new plants and a well-manicured lawn will do for the appearance of your home. It doesn’t necessarily add cash value, but it does keep the appraiser from penalizing your because your yard doesn’t have adequate landscaping.
4. Provide Appraiser With Important Documents
Throughout the years, you have probably done a few repairs and instituted a home improvement or two. You must keep good records related to anything you do to your home. You should have a list of repairs/improvements you have made and receipts to support the value of those repairs and improvements.
Other records you might want to have on hand for the appraiser should include property tax documents and permits you may have secured prior to making major structural improvements.
The fact you are organized and well-prepared will go a long way towards making the appraisal process on your home easier for the appraiser. An appraiser in a good mood will likely have a more favorable impression about your home as he goes through the process.
5. Don’t Be Afraid to Interact With Appraiser
When the appraiser arrives, you need to be polite and make yourself available. You’ll want to show them around the property and point out some of the details about your home that might not be readily apparent. For instance, you can point out some of the improvements you made that correlate with permits and receipts you have to present.
Caution: You don’t want to be pushy. Your appraiser knows what they are doing. If they have questions, they will ask. You can prompt them by letting them know beforehand that you have information and records you would like to share when the time is right. When the appraiser is wrapping up, it’s appropriate to offer answers to any remaining questions they may have. It’s also appropriate to ask if what their impression about your home might be and if they anticipate there being any issues with the appraisal going forward.
We hope you find this information useful. If you are considering refinancing your mortgage, you should give us a call at your earliest convenience.