Dishes are piled high, you just discovered chipping paint in the bathroom, the kids left their legos out from last night and the appraiser visit is due to start in an hour. How to decide which of these things takes the priority, before the appraiser arrives? Ruining an appraisal visit can have high and costly consequences, which is why we’ve developed an expert list of how to prepare for the appraiser’s visit, what to do and what not to do.
Appraisal Visit Priority List
1. Tidy up any gross things first.
Appraisers are used to some mess in houses. They’re actually prepared to look past the everyday messes, in order to give you an accurate appraisal. What they’re not going to look past, are the gross messes that would make an average person plug their nose and say, “ew”. Take care of bad smells, any animal messes that can be better cleaned, obvious amounts of dust or dirt, heaping piles of food, papers, random junk and absolutely anything rotten. If it’s crunch time and you can’t get a deeper clean or fix lined up, do everything you possibly can to eliminate or fix the excessive mess.
2. Next, it’s on to the smaller messes.
Uncleaned stains, an unwanted weed jungle in the front yard (don’t forget about curb appeal!) or mold on the kitchen ceiling from that one time you forgot to lid the blender, are all important to tidy up. If you don’t have to worry about the real gross messes, do consider the cracks and marks that you may have become accustomed to seeing. An appraiser will notice them, and they won’t be looking at the story as to why the chocolate protein shake ended up on the ceiling, or how little Suzie’s planting project went horribly wrong a few months ago. Tell a story with your house; and make it a pleasant one.
3. Easy Access is crucial!
The appraiser has to go into the garage, the guest room used to house the kitty litter and the random walk in closet. A cluttered garage and full closet are to be expected. As long as they’re not gross or dangerous. If they are, return to priority one.
4 . It’s time to make a list.
If you’re not worried about an appraiser finding any of the above on their appraisal tour, you’re not off the hook yet! Those legos from last night and the laundry basket in the bedroom don’t need your immediate attention. The appraiser will know to look past that–tidying up is not your fourth priority. The next priority is to write up a list of all the improvements that have been made on your house. If you can add a detail about each improvement and the cost, that’s even better. Share that list with the appraiser when they come to visit. This makes their job easier. It also can help the appraisal accurately reflect the value you’re hoping to see.
5. Let’s talk about the four legged friend.
If your family dog is a big, slobbering lug of love, put him out of the appraisers way. But, remember, don’t make the pooch’s spot off limits to the appraiser. You’ll especially need to get him out of the way if he’s a barking terror that is prepared to go to war for the safety of the house. As you probably know, making the appraiser’s job harder is not acceptable. You might be comfortable with everything about your favorite four legged friend, but, the appraiser has a job to do and does not want to be bothered with a pup disturbing them.
6. After all that, there’s one all-important piece of the appraisal visit that we haven’t yet talked about yet–you.
Please, err towards dressing in your Sunday best rather than your birthday suit. Dress for a guest visit, not a pajama party. You also need to be mentally prepared, calm and available during the visit. Stay in a convenient location, and be ready to share information about why you love neighborhood, the house, the block or other pleasant points about your home.
Now you know how to prepare and prioritize for an appraiser visit. Stay tuned for more lessons and updates.