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+30 Tips to Avoid a Low Value On Your Home Appraisal

real estate appraisal sheet held up

Low value appraisals can kill deals. However, there are certain ways on how we can challenge an appraisal or assist the appraiser to come in at value even before the report will be completed. Some of the home appraisals will also require for the repairs to be done before closing and this can also kill any deal. So here’s a comprehensive article to help avoid low value appraisal for your home property along with each subtopic.

What is a Home Appraisal?

Home appraisal written on white background

A home appraisal is an unbiased and professional opinion of a value of a home property. The appraisal value is often used in buying and selling home properties and is commonly used during refinance transactions. In any kind of buy and sell transaction, the appraisal is used in identifying whether or not the contract price of a property is appropriate, given the condition of the home, as well as its features and location. In a refinance option, the appraisal assures the lender that it will not hand the borrower more money than what the property is actually worth.

The lenders would basically want to make sure that the homeowners would not end up over borrowing for a certain property since the property will serve as the collateral for mortgage. If the borrower will be in default and will go into foreclosure, then the lender will have to recoup the money that it has lent by putting the home property for sale. The appraisal will help the bank in protecting itself against lending more money than what it could recover in case the worst-case scenarios will happen.

Who Orders the Appraisal When Purchasing a Home?

Couple talking to a woman

It is the lender who will normally require for the appraisal to be done by a licensed appraiser. However, as the borrower, you will have to shoulder the cost that comes with it. The cost will appear at the Closing Disclosure, which will be part of the overall closing costs.

In some states, such as in California, homebuyers have the option to waive the appraisal and inspection of a home property. Real estate agents will normally recommend for a home inspection to be conducted in order for the buyer to have a peace of mind. Moreover, lenders will normally require for the home appraisal to be done as a condition of the mortgage or financing. The sales contract will dictate who will pay the fees and how they are paid.

How Long Does a Home Appraisal Take?

Clock held over a piggy bank

A home appraisal consists of three components. First, the appraiser will have to physically visit the property and do an inspection. Secondly, the appraiser will look for recent sales of any comparable homes within or near the neighborhood of the property. Third, the appraiser will come up with a report that will justify the value of the property using a detailed adjustment based on the comparable sales. A lot of times, the appraisals are delivered to the lender within two to seven days.

The appraisal reports are available in two types. First is the full narrative appraisal that is used for bigger commercial properties and often consists up to a hundred pages and could take up to four weeks to be prepared and delivered. Fortunately, almost all of the residential properties will require only short form appraisal reports, which are often less than ten pages. Appraisers could complete the short form report within six hours and less. Depending on the workload involved, a residential appraisal must be completed before it will be delivered to the lenders within less than a week only.

Home Appraisal Process

Model of a house on a wooden background

The process of home appraisal is pretty straightforward and will involve hiring a licensed appraiser to estimate the value of a home property by means of a comprehensive examination. Generally, the professional and licensed appraiser will schedule the appraisal several days in advance. The entire duration of the inspection process will range from only a few minutes up to several hours depending on the overall condition of the property.

If it is the homeowner who is interested to know the value of the home property before listing, then the homeowner will have to be the one who will directly get in touch with the appraiser. In this scenario, it is the seller who will have to pay for the cost of the home appraisal. On the other hand, if a homebuyer would like to purchase a property and is applying for a mortgage of a loan, then it is the lender who will usually order for the appraisal. In this case, the appraisal cost will not be included in the Closing Disclosure and will then be included in the closing cost.

After a thorough inspection of the property, the appraiser will then assess the real estate market within the area in order to do a comparison. After which, an appraisal report will have to be accomplished and delivered to the lender or homeowner, or whoever requested it, usually a week from the inspection.

When everything will go smoothly, the home appraisal is just another box to be ticked during a loan closing. If the appraisal value is lower than what is expected, then the transaction could be delayed and there is even a possibility for it to be cancelled. Regardless of what situation you will encounter when buying or selling homes, a basic understanding of how the process of appraisal will function can certainly benefit you.

How Much Does an Appraisal Cost for a Home?

Guy using a calculator

Home appraisals will normally cost around $200 to as much as $400, depending on the state of the property. Professional appraisers are licensed by the state where they are based.

It should be noted that home appraisers are different from home inspectors when it comes to analyzing a home property. The inspectors will only conclude any problem areas in the property that will need immediate repair. Aside from the condition of the property, the home appraisers will also check the location as well as other features that can help to add value to the property. Moreover, they will also include in their report the neighborhood as well as other additional items, such as swimming pools, as well as newly renovated kitchen or bathroom.

Home Appraisal Checklist

Home appraisal illustration on a computer

As already discussed above, a home appraisal is a valuation process where an expert or a licensed appraiser will assess your property. These appraisers will visit your property to check its condition and to take inventory of all its features, which is necessary for the valuation. Here’s a checklist of the factors to be included in the process of home appraisal.

  • Condition of the home property.
  • Overall size or area of the house.
  • Size or area of the lot.
  • Overall quality of the landscaping.
  • Number of bathrooms, bedrooms and other rooms.
  • Quality of views and light.
  • Additional features, such as a swimming pool.
  • Number of fireplaces and location.
  • Overall quality of the basement and whether it is finished or unfinished.
  • Finishing details of the home property, such as hardwood flooring, granite countertop and lighting fixtures.

The appraiser will then research about the recently sold properties within your area that have features similar to the property. Moreover, the appraiser will account for the differences between the property and the comparable properties in order to come up with the estimated home value.

Extra bathrooms, bedroom count, overall size and finished basement are just some of the factors that have the most impact on the home appraisal. Features like fancy finishes, countertop quality, as well as cosmetic upgrades often have less impact only.

The appraiser will normally gauge your property against at least five to six comparables, although this list could be as high as ten. Comps are then chosen from within a certain geographic area in order to avoid the need to adjust the cost based on the location. Normally, all comps are considered recent sales within the last few months and this helps to guard against the fluctuating condition of the market. Short sales and foreclosures are not often included as comparables, although there might be exceptions if your property is located in areas with high foreclosure.

Think Like an Appraiser

Chalkboard with a house and the words home appraisal written on it

If you are just starting in the world of investing, then you have probably been told that the best thing that you can do in order to improve your skills would be to acquire a real estate license.

But the problem is that although a real estate license comes with its own advantages, most of what you will learn will have to do with the contracts, city laws, state, ethics, as well as regulations. And although this is truly useful information, you will not learn an important skill that’s necessary for real estate, which is how to evaluate or appraise a property in order to earn good profit. Here’s how you can think like a professional appraiser.

  • Evaluating a property in less than 15 minutes only – if you know what you should look for before you even start viewing a certain property, then you should be able to do a quick assessment of a property. Just like a professional, you might be able to do this in less than 15 minutes only.

Of course, it’s still important that you exercise your due diligence when doing so and you have to pay close attention to detail. Usually, the four areas that appraisers will consider when assessing a property are functionality, aesthetic appeal, location and quality. Other important factors to check are whether or not the property is up to code when it comes to its infrastructure, such as plumbing, electrical wiring, heating, cooling system and many more.

  • Quickly figure out the growth potential of a particular neighborhood – when it comes to the location, check around and take note of the condition of the properties in the surroundings as well. Are they being taken cared of? Do not feel intimidated if half of the properties in the surrounding areas are run down and others have been kept neatly. Talk to the neighbors as well as storeowners, and check with them on where they see the neighborhood after about ten years.

You can also check into the lives of the people who live there. Can you find plenty of millennials around and if there are any trendy stores popping up. If there are, then this could be a good sign that the neighborhood is going through a renewal phase.

  • Evaluate the property according to three different approaches – appraisers will evaluate the property according to three different approaches. First is the cost approach and this approach will ask how much it will cost to build a home that’s similar in quality and style. If it costs more, then the estimated cost will be higher. If it costs less, then the estimated value will be inflated and the property will not be considered a good value.

Another is the direct comparison approach and on this approach, the appraiser will evaluate the property by comparing it to others with the same location and characteristics. Third is the income approach and such approach evaluates the property in accordance to what profit it could potentially bring in the future.

What Does a House Appraiser Look For?

Inspector looking at damaged ceiling

In order for the home appraiser to be able to do his or her job in determining the value of the property, they should understand quite a bit regarding the construction as well as the maintenance of a home property. He or she should be able to look at certain things to get an accurate home appraisal and this includes the following:

  • Your home exterior – at its most basic terms, a home consists of a foundation, walls and a roof. All of these three play important roles in the overall functionality and reliability of the home property. The appraiser will look for any defects in the overall construction of the house and will check for any damages in these components. A problem in the foundation or roof could make the property inhabitable, thus, you need to be aware that the appraiser normally focus on any of these. Remember that the appraiser will report this to the lender who will approve the buyer of a mortgage. As you know, one of the main purposes of the appraisal is to ensure that the mortgage company will not lend money to a property that doesn’t have the necessary equity.
  • Size of property – the overall size of the lot as well as the size of the home itself is both important things that the appraiser will consider. A lot of people would prefer to have bigger homes and with bigger lots as well. Thus, you can expect for these factors to come into play when a property is being evaluated. The more rooms that the house have, the more that you can expect for its worth to be more, especially if the house is large enough and accommodating. Homebuyers love the opportunity to be able to expand and thus, they will more likely desire a property that will allow for more expansion. The square area of a home property will in fact, make up a huge portion of what will go into figuring out the appraised value of a house.
  • Condition of the property – even if the roofing, siding and foundation of the house are all in excellent condition, the interior is just as important as well, and are to be considered when the property is being assessed. Things like the doors and windows, walls, flooring, electrical, plumbing, bathroom and kitchen are all important aspects of any home property. The appraiser should know all about these and must be able to identify what’s good and what’s not. You can then be rest assured that the appraiser will look closely at the property. This is applicable even to appliances, light fixtures, etc.
  • Home improvements – the value of a home property will not stop upon its original construction. The appraiser will also be interested in any improvements you have made to the property as well as the quality of these improvements. A renovated bathroom, new floor, kitchen, new appliances and HVAC system are all things that an appraiser will consider in order to assess its value.
  • Extras and additions – all the extra additions that can make the property special will also be considered for the appraisal. A house might just be very basic or it might come with several additions that can help to make it look even more appealing. An air conditioning at a cooler climate, for instance, might be unusual in a particular area, but is beneficial during the hot summer moths. A swimming pool for instance, is a good example. If the pool is in excellent shape and in areas where people will not mind to pay for them, then this can also add value to the property.

Remember that even the things that you consider basic such as fireplaces, windows, garage and security systems can all add up to the value of your house when the appraiser starts with the appraisal process. All these things are critical elements for what the appraisers will consider during the process of appraisal.

Pros and Cons of Refinance Appraisals

Piece of paper saying refinance your mortgage

When a borrower is considering refinancing their mortgages, they must always consider the pros and cons that come with refinance appraisals.

Pros of Refinance Appraisals

Below are some of the pros of getting a mortgage appraisal according to experts:

  • Helps you to potentially avoid PMI – if the term of the borrower’s existing loan will require private mortgage insurance or PMI, there is a good chance that it will be required right after a refinance too. However, if the actual market value of the property will be higher than what the lender will assume, the loan will be less than 80 percent of the home’s entire value, the borrower might not need to pay for the PMI. The best way to know if the ratio of the loan to loan value will be low enough that it can avoid PMI would be to request for an appraisal.
  • Capture lower interest rate – in cases where the ratio of the loan to value is very high, the lender might have to charge the borrower for higher mortgage rate so as to reflect a much bigger risk. However, if the appraisal will show that the loan has a much lower percentage compared to the value of the home, the borrower might receive a lower rate of interest that could also lower the payment monthly.
  • Better chance of approval – homeowners who are not eligible to avail of a streamline program, like the VA or FHA option, might find that requesting for an appraisal might be the only option to acquire for a new loan. If you will qualify for the regular refinance, you should not lose on the opportunity to be able to save money and avail of a much lower rate.
  • Spot any rising trends – although a lot of people would ask real estate agents in identifying if a market will rebound, professional appraisers also have that ability. If the appraiser is very much knowledgeable in that area, they will be able to easily spot any rising trend on the prices and will document it on their appraisal report.

Cons of Refinance Appraisals

On the other hand, the drawbacks that come with getting refinance appraisals are the following:

  • Cost – according to experts, the appraisals will cost about $400. This could very well be an expensive price for some homeowners who are trying to refinance and lower their payments monthly.
  • Low valuations – an appraiser might find that a home’s value will be significantly lower than what the homeowner and the lender have anticipated. Experts have further said that a large cut on the price could occur if the neighborhood has experienced recent short sales as well as foreclosures where home properties are being bought at less than the normal rates.

Does a Messy House Affect an Appraisal?

Picture of a messy house

As you know, an appraisal is done in order to determine the real value of a home property. Hiring an appraiser before you place your home in the market can help to eliminate any uncertainty regarding the actual cost of your home. Buyers that use a lender in financing a home will normally hire an appraiser to ensure that the property is indeed worth the price. If you don’t know what the appraisal is consist of, you might wonder how to prepare for the appraisal most especially if your home is messy.

Except if the clutter affects the overall structure of your home, it will not affect the appraisal in any way. The cleanliness of a home will also have no impact on its value. It is normal for an appraiser to walk into a messy and cluttered home. Professional appraisers know how to overlook the clutter and the furnishings and will picture out the space as though it is empty.

Although your home is not really valued in according to your cleaning or organization skills, it’s always a good idea that you straighten up before any appraisal so the appraiser will be able to get a more accurate look. The appraiser should be able to easily access to all areas in your house, including the crawl spaces and garage.

The appraisal will usually focus on inspecting the home’s structure, land and interior. Furthermore, the appraiser will look at the siding, roofing and the foundation in order to check its condition and quality. Inside, the appraiser will measure the room, check the flooring and will look for any signs of molds and other serious problems. Cracks and peeling paint in the walls will also lower the home value. Adding landscaping to your home can also help to boost the appraisal of the home. Appraisers will take note of the amenities inside your home and check if it has any upgrades.

How to Get a High Appraisal on Your Home

Man in suit pressing a button saying high value

To begin with your appraisal preparation, ensure that your home is clean, both inside and out. Although the clutter of your home may not affect its value, remember that the appraisers are also human beings, after all, and could be swayed by how clean a home looks. Here are more tips on how to get a high appraisal on your home.

  • Start working on those things you’ve been putting off – your house will not transform into a beautiful mansion in just one day, so some of the conditions needed for the appraisal are not negotiable. However, you can certainly take advantage of all your home’s features. Ensure that all of the major systems were serviced and that everything in your home is fully functional and well maintained.  For the appraisers, the condition of a house will matter more than the year it was built. So start working on those repairs you have been putting off.
  • Enhance the curb appeal of your home – you may not pay that much attention in the overall exterior of your home, especially if you will normally get in and out through the garage or through a side door. However, curb appeal matters a lot to most homebuyers and it matters to the appraisers too. Start by strategically placing containers in the gardens, wipe down all existing foliage, mulch the flower beds and stage porches complete with seating and pillows.
  • Create a file for all the recent tax documents including the improvements and upgrades made – if you will spend money for your home on improvements and upgrades, make sure that you save all of the receipts and store them inside a filing cabinet. It is also important that you take before and after photos of all the upgrades and improvements made. By being organized, you will be able to easily prove to the appraiser the things you have done in order to upgrade your home and how much you have spent. In addition, make sure that you include documentation for all the permits pulled as part of the home improvement project.
  • Get to know the comps within your area – one way to best determine the value of your property is to do a comparison with similar properties nearby that have been sold recently. If you get to know the comps like an appraiser, you may be able to challenge the low value comparable that they will use. Do not wait for the appeal process if you believe you have been given a lowball appraisal.
  • Do not be too pushy – in order to present the appraiser with all the information you have gathered, you must do it diplomatically or else, your efforts will just go to waste. Meet up with the appraiser and be as nice as possible but do not be too overbearing. Inform the appraiser that you have some details to share before they can get started with their appraisal.

Home Appraisal Tips

illustration of what is included in the property value

Low appraisals are becoming a huge problem for a lot of would be buyers as well as refinancers since home values have just started to stabilize and increase in some markets. Remember that the best thing that a homeowner can do is to get the best appraisal as possible and to ensure that all of the important features in their home are readily available for the appraiser. Here are some tips when it comes to home appraisals.

  • Make sure the appraiser knows your neighborhood – it is important that the appraiser is just within the 10-mile radius of your property. If the appraiser does not know the area well, chances are the appraisal will not come back close to how much the property is really worth. You may request for your lender to send a local appraisal. If that will not happen, then supply as much information as you can about the quality of the neighborhood where your property is located.
  • Provide your own comps – you should give your appraiser with at least three solid and well-priced comparable home properties. This will save the appraiser some work and ensure that she will be getting price information from properties that are similar to your own property. There are websites that offer details regarding recent prices, like the number of bathrooms and bedrooms in a home, and more.
  • Determine what adds the most value – if you are going to do some minor renovations, begin with your bathroom and kitchen. Landscaping, wooden floors, as well as an enclosed garage can also help to increase the appraisals.
  • Document all your fix-ups – if you have spent enough money into the property, prove it. Before and after photos can help to persuade the appraiser to turn in a figure that will far exceed what he has first called out. Never forget to highlight all the structural improvements, from the heating and cooling systems down to the electrical systems. They might not be visible, but they can certainly boost the appraisal value.
  • Talk about your town – if the town where your property is located has seen a lot of exciting developments lately, such as new museums, restaurants, parks and some other amenities, make sure that your appraiser is aware of these.
  • Clean up – even a jaded appraiser can be easily swayed by a nice and clean looking yard. Therefore, you should take time to trim the trees, clean up and plant a few flowers in the flowerbeds. Paint touch up can also help with the appraisal.
  • Give your appraiser some space – do not keep on following the appraiser like a dog. This can serve as a major red flag that there are problems in the home. Make the appraiser’s job as pleasant as possible and make sure that your home has a pleasant smell.

Check out these tips from BiggerPockets too.

What Adds Value to a Home Appraisal?

note block saying add value

As you know, a home appraisal is the bank’s way of keeping its investment protected by ensuring that it does not loan more for a property than how much it is worth. Professional appraisers, who are trained to compare your home with the comparable homes within the neighborhood, will come up with a market value for your property. But do you know what adds the most value to a home appraisal? Read on to find out.

  • Overall condition – you must think of the overall condition of your house before the arrival of the home appraiser. Remember that the appraiser will compare the property with other homes within the area, which have recently been sold or are still in the market. So check your house with a critical eye, and if necessary, repair the things that need to be repaired, such as the driveway cracks, loose shingles, broken gutters, and more.
  • Paint – a cheaper way to make your room appear bigger, cleaner and lighter is to paint it. Take a closer look at the walls of your house and check which of these could benefit from a fresh new coat.
  • Lighting – pull the drapes back and turn on all the lights in your house. Two things could happen at once when you do this – your home will look cleaner and brighter and the appraiser will be provided with the light needed for him to get the property inspected properly.
  • Records – you should provide the appraiser with records of all the upgrades, renovation and repairs you have made for the property.
  • Curb appeal – the appraiser is aware that the buyers will not stop to look at a home property that does not appeal to them from the exterior, so you have to make your curb appear as appealing as what’s inside. So take time to mow your yard, trim the plant and flowers, sweep the driveway, clean off the clutter and remove all items from your yard. If the appraiser will conduct a visual examination of the property that he is comparing your house to, he will surely notice which of the home property will have the best curb appeal.

Check out our guide on adding value to your home too.

What Happens When Your Home is Appraised For Less Than the Offer?

A person holding a piggy bank as well as a house in his hands

A low appraisal could happen for some reason. However, it should not have to be a deal breaker. Indeed, it can be heart wrenching for both the buyer and seller if the deal will fall apart just because of the appraisal. But this is actually common and it happens to a lot of homebuyers and sellers. In fact, low appraisals actually happen more often, especially in a rising real estate market.

Sometimes there are inadequate comparable sales that could apply to the property that you want or perhaps, there are distressed sales within the area that may have skewed the appraisal. Traditional lenders will only lend money up to a certain percentage of the appraisal value. Thus, if the appraisal is much lower than the offer, then you might need to look for other means to come up with more cash to pay the seller.

The good news is that you do have options when this happens. First, you can look over some appraisal contingency clause. The appraisal contingency that’s built into the contract will allow you to be able to re-evaluate the situation and renegotiate if possible. But even having a contingency clause, you may end up spending more.

Another thing that you can do is to get a second opinion. Perhaps, the estimate of the appraiser is just inaccurate. If so, then consider getting a second opinion. The appraiser will review the appeal and will then re-evaluate the property by explaining on why he or she has not used the comparable sales that the lender sent. Another option would be to try working out with the lender in order to have a second appraisal done. They might just be willing to accept the higher appraised value.

What If Your Home Appraisal Comes In Low?

three way sign

In a high rising market, it is common for low valuations to happen. This is because appraisals are often based in the sales that closed once the cost of property is lower. In other words, the appraisals cannot keep up with how fast homes will be selling in the hot market, and thus, you are bound to see a lower than expected values placed on home properties. When this happens, here are the things you can do.

  • Appeal the appraisal – sometimes, there is a thing called the rebuttal of value where the appraisal appeal will take on some work. The loan officer, homeowner and the real estate agent will all work together in order to look for a better comparable market data in order to justify a much higher valuation.
  • Request for a second appraisal – sometimes, if the appraised value is not as high as what was agreed on the contract, the agent will request to see the comps and will then ask for up to a third appraisal. But this will likely cost you and you will not only be paying for the firs appraisal, but for the additional appraisals as well.
  • Negotiate with the seller – you might want to go back to the seller and request for them to lower the price or perhaps, split the difference. The seller will not have the obligation to do so. However, they might prefer to go for this instead of taking chances of losing the buyer and then starting all over again.
  • Walk away – no buyer wants to let the property to slip through, especially if it is his or her dream home. However, beware about ignoring low appraisals as you could end up losing thousands if the time comes that you will sell the property.

Common Errors to Look for In a Home Appraisal Report

sign saying error

Low appraisals tend to be a common topic among those who have used the appraisal services. Although foreclosures and overall market downturn is often the reason behind all these, there are also situations where the mistakes and errors could have been made on the report. Below are some of the most common errors that you should watch out for in an appraisal report when it comes low.

  • Trust but verify – one part you might want to check on the GLA or gross living area of a home, or the heated and cooled square footage. Although you do not necessarily need to know what’s for your home, you may need to check what the latest appraisal has against what the previous appraisals have shown.

No two appraisers will arrive in the same area and come up with similar calculations because of rounding, but they should be close enough. If there is a huge difference and you have not done any changes on the living area of your house, then you may need to request for the appraiser to double check it. There is a possibility that the previous appraisal is incorrect, however, unless you bring it to their attention, you will not know.

  • Check if an adjustment is necessary or not – the next thing you will look at for any errors is that part of the appraisal report where there are adjustments made. This is usually at the grid page where the sales comparable are often shown. Major features of the sales and subjects are listed, with some adjustments done for the differences between them. Again, you are not going to be asked what the dollar adjustment would be. However, if adjustments were not made for the obvious differences, this could be the reason why the appraisal may have come low.
  • Just the facts – when you talk to the appraisers during a home appraisal, always talk to them about the recent renovations and updates that they have made recently into their home. All these improvements could result in an increase of value if the homebuyers will find them valuable and will be willing to pay for these. There is a big chance that the appraisal value of your house will increase if the improvements will be considered.
  • Number of rooms – the number of bathrooms or bedrooms in your house will be another fact to consider and ensure that it is accurate for the appraisal. This is among those features that potential homebuyers would look for in a home and will find to be important that it could greatly add value to the property. You do not need to know about the supposed adjustments, but you must also check if an adjustment has been made for all of the differences in the number of rooms between the subject property and the sale comparable.
  • Apples and oranges – another important area of the appraisal that you must check is the sales comparable that were used in the report. There are several reasons why the report does not have the best comps available. Geographic competency has been so popular recently due to the proliferation of the Appraisal Management Companies. It’s not a secret that some of the AMC will tend to hire the cheapest appraiser regardless of where they are based or their lack of knowledge in the market. This could cause problems especially if the appraiser will not subscribe to any of the local data services, which provide information regarding sales comparable.

How To Dispute and Appeal a Home Appraisal

The word appeal in gold

A low appraisal does not need to be the final answer. There are ways on how you can contest it. Here are the steps.

  • Do not panic – when you receive the low appraisal, don’t panic. There are various ways to deal with this scenario so save yourself all of the stress and do not freak out.
  • Ask for a copy – you should ask your mortgage officer or real estate agent to have a copy of the appraisal so you will be able to review it in detail.
  • Review the comps – you and your agent must take time to review the list of homes that the appraiser has used for comparison. This is very important if you have plans to contest the appraisal. The selection of the comparable homes that were used will show wide variances and varieties. You and your agent should examine those that the appraiser has selected.
  • Check out other homes in the same neighborhood – the homes that were used in the appraisal must be in the same neighborhood as where you live especially if the surrounding neighborhood is not as desirable as yours.
  • Check the school district – this is a significant value changer for various neighborhoods. Homes that are in a significantly better school district are usually more desirable and are often priced higher than the sub-par districts.
  • Contest the properties used as comparable – if you find any discrepancies with the similarities of the homes used as comparable, then you can have the agent to put together list of a more accurate home comparable that will justify the value that you need.
  • Investigate any permit issues – find out if the appraiser has taken some value off the upgrades or room additions that do not have any permits. Usually, permits have not been filed properly or the appraiser may not have access to them.
  • Brag about your property – come up with a list of home improvements and amenities in your home. List down all of the things that will show your property as having a much higher value as compared to other comparable properties.
  • Scrutinize the appraiser – you might even question the mortgage company or the bank regarding the actual appraiser. There are certain factors that could bring the valuation into question.
  • Request for the appraiser to reconsider – as soon as you have the copies of all the comparable and other supporting documentation, you can show all of these to the appraiser and request for them to reconsider. This can be done through the mortgage company or the bank that has requested the appraisal.
  • Demand for a second appraiser – if the appraiser will refuse to reconsider and you or your agent feel that there are supporting evidences that could help to significantly alter the result of the appraised value, then consider sending a demand letter to the mortgage company or bank for a second appraisal to be done.
  • Request for a brand new appraisal – finally, if everything else fails, you and your real estate agent can request your own appraisal. This will usually cost you some money, which you need to pay yourself. There’s no guarantee on this but if you or your agent are confident that the value must be higher, then it will all be worth it.

Free Online Home Appraisal Tools

Desk can be seen with a computer on it too

Buying a home is truly an exciting experience. Unlike renting, owning a new home will allow you to make certain decisions that will call all the shots. Although there are appraisers who will determine the value of your home, as a homeowner, it is important that you also know the value of your home property. Below are some websites that can help to make the task easier for you.

  • Zillow – this is among the biggest and the most popular sites that you can use to monitor the value of your home property. The great thing about using the site is that the layout is so easy, so it’s easy for you to use as well. You just need to key in the value of your home into the website and it will provide you with the estimated home value.
  • Trulia – this works in the same way with Zillow. As soon as you reach the site, you just need to key in your address and you will then know how much your home will be worth. Instead of providing an estimate however, Trulia will offer an average listing price of similar properties within your area.
  • Redfin – this is another website that is also popular among real estate agents and homeowners.  With this site, you just need to enter certain details regarding the property and you will learn more about the local neighborhood, how much property the taxes will cost every year, as well as the walkability of the property.
  • – this might sound like a site only for real estate professionals, but this website can be used by anyone for free. You just need to enter the address of the property into the homepage of the site and you will get an array of details, including the estimated value of your property.
  • Real Estate ABC – this website links up with Zillow in order to provide the same estimated value that you will receive there. The best thing about the site is that it will list down a ton of sales data for the recent home sales within your area. If a home property is sold down the street, you will eventually find out how much the buyer has paid for it.
  • – this works in the same way as that of the other sites, by offering an estimate of your home value. Aside from the home prices, the website also offers details about the home properties sold nearby, including the current refinancing rates and even more.
  • Chase Mortgage Services – although this might be a bit strange, but Chase Bank actually has its own property valuation tool being offered online. Just enter your home address, including your zip code and state, and you will learn how much your property is actually worth.
  • – this site has been created in order to help homeowners to advertise and market their own property instead of a realtor. It also provides other tools that the homeowner can also benefit as well.