When the buyer's lender wants to schedule the appraiser's appointment it's a good sign that you’re nearing the end of the sales process. It's that one final hurdle to jump, and it typically invokes anxiety in both the buyer and the seller. After all, if the appraised value doesn't meet or exceed the requested loan amount, the deal may fall apart.
What to expect
The typical inspection portion of the appraisal appraisal process takes only about 20 to 30 minutes. The appraiser will look at the home's size, its condition and the quality of the materials used to construct it. After inspecting the home the appraiser heads back to the office to compare homes that have recently sold you your home to come up with a fair market value.
How to prepare
Make sure you have a few documents ready before the appraisal. This includes the title policy, your most recent property tax bill, a plot plan or survey and a list of your belongings that are being sold with the home, like pool equipment, swing sets and energy efficiency systems.
Be sure to notify the appraiser of any improvements you've made to the home. If you have information about any recent sales in the neighborhood -- information that the appraiser may not have access to -- share it with him or her. If you can help justify why Joe down the street sold his home for way less than he should have (he was in a hurry to take an out-of-town job), it may help the appraiser when determining market value.
Be available to the appraiser for any questions about the property. He or she will need full access to your home including attics, crawl spaces, basements and garages. Fix any maintenance issues before the appraiser arrives and make sure you’ve thoroughly cleaned the home. You want to make a good impression to get a higher home value on the report, plus they’ll snap a few photos of the home.
While the appraisal isn’t the same as a home inspection, the appraisal report will look at the overall condition of your home. If the appraisal comes out low, you may have to lower your asking price.