Selling Your Southern Maryland Home? Make Sure It Appraises For Maximum Value!

Kimberly Bean
Kimberly Bean
Published on October 30, 2017

Two parts of the home-selling process seem to throw most Southern Maryland homeowners for a loop: The home inspection and the appraisal. Both can have a huge impact on the market value of the home – and how much money sellers can realize from the sale.

With both the inspection and the appraisal can break the sale, the appraised value isn’t something you can negotiate like the results of the home inspection report. This is one more reason why it is so important to work with a Southern Maryland real estate agent to help you determine the current market value of your home.

Then, you need to do everything you can to ensure that the appraiser agrees with that value.

What Influences Value to an Appraiser?

Most real estate consumers don’t understand the appraiser’s role in the home sale process. For example, even though the buyer pays for the appraisal, it belongs to the lender, not the buyer. And, by law, a copy of the appraisal must be given to you if you request it in writing, according to the Federal Bureau of Consumer Financial Protection.

Southern Maryland’s residential appraisal professionals take a multi-pronged approach to determining a home’s value. There are several items considered over which a homeowner has no control, including local housing market trends, which are impacted by economic, social, and other forces such as supply and demand.

The appraiser uses all of these factors as a backdrop when he or she studies your neighborhood, your home’s characteristics, and competitive properties to arrive at the home’s appraised value.

There’s Value in a Well-Maintained, Clean Home

Your home may sail through an inspection if you’ve maintained your home over the years. A well-maintained home will also impress the appraisers. You can do other things to help you in the inspection and appraisal, including making small repairs, revving up the curb appeal, and meticulously cleaning the home. And while some appraisers say that clean properties don’t result in higher values, others, including many real estate industry insiders, beg to differ.

Your home’s condition, however, will have a direct impact on its appraised value, known as the Condition and Quality rating in the appraisal industry. The condition rating ranges from C1 (for new homes) to C6, which is for homes with severe deferred maintenance issues and defects that might impact the home’s habitability.

During this phase of his or her evaluation, the appraiser considers all of the improvements you’ve made to the property.

Supply the Appraiser with Accurate Data

You can’t assume that the appraiser will notice all the upgrades you’ve made to your home. Make a list of them, including the dates they were performed and by whom. Be specific in your explanations. Rather than just writing “bathroom remodel,” give more details.

“Bathroom remodel: new tub; travertine tile work; cherrywood cabinetry; Kohler sink, faucet, etc. …/Installed 2009/$15,000 cost,” suggests Ryan Lundquist, certified residential appraiser in Sacramento, CA.

In fact, Lundquist offers a handy information sheet you can download, fill out, and offer up to the appraiser when he or she visits the home.

You also can’t assume that the appraiser is familiar with your neighborhood. As a result of the Dodd-Frank reforms, appraisers are typically assigned jobs by an Appraisal Management Company, or AMC for short. These jobs are assigned “essentially at random,” Phil Huff, CEO of a real estate appraisal data company in California tells Market Watch’s Daniel Goldstein.

This means that the appraiser may have little or no knowledge of your neighborhood. Include a short neighborhood description part of the information you give to the appraiser. Lundquist suggests a bulleted list to make it easier for the appraiser to read quickly.

On the list, tell the appraiser what you like about the neighborhood, about your HOA and its feed, anything important about its location, what makes your neighborhood “in demand,” and any information you have about pending projects that will have a positive impact on area home values. Mention the school district if it is high quality.

Other items to point out to the appraiser include:

  • If your lot is more desirable than others nearby, include a copy of the property survey.
  • Home features that the appraiser may not notice, such as energy efficiency.
  • Any information you may have on why a nearby home sold for less than it should have, such as a divorce or a sale to a member of the homeowner’s family.

There may not be anything you can do to change the economic forces that influence your Southern Maryland home’s value in the eye of the appraiser, but taking care of the items that are within your control will help a great deal.

Waldorf MD Homes for Sale and Real Estate Services in Southern Maryland. You now have a search engine to help you with your Southern Maryland home search! And I’m ready to provide you with a custom home valuation if you’re considering selling your home. Let’s connect to discuss how I can help you. Contact Kimberly Bean at 301-440-1309

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