Preparing for the home appraisal is always an important step when selling your home. In a declining market, it becomes critical. When home prices are rising or steady, one can expect the comps (comparable properties) will justify the sales price you negotiated. When prices are falling, this becomes less sure. Since appraisers use the most recent closed sales in their comparisons, a new sale with a lower price can affect the value of your home.
While you can’t control the market, you can prepare for the appraisal and put yourself in the best position to get the desired results. Working with your agent, the first step is to arm yourself with good, local comps to share with the appraiser. They will pull their own data as well, but by packaging recent sales that justify your price, along with a short summary of why they are good comparisons – such as comparable view, amenities, yard size, etc. – may not only help the appraiser, but can be used to challenge an appraisal if necessary.
The next step is to prepare your home to make the best impression. Not only should the home be spotless but make any repairs necessary and focus on curb appeal, just as you would for buyers. Have a list of any improvements or upgrades you have made to the home. Remember things like upgraded HVAC systems or new pool equipment too that highlight the effort you’ve put into maintaining the property.
Finally, make every effort to be at the appraisal. Answer any questions honestly and thoroughly. No one knows your home better than you do. In a declining market, putting effort into showcasing the value of your home is critical to a successful close.