My answer to this question has changed over the years, I used to tell my clients, “Oh, don’t bother. It won’t matter. The appraiser is just going to look at your square footage and your upgrades.” But I’ve changed my mind on this one.
I just don’t like to take any chances and usually we only have one shot at the appraisal. Even though the appraiser is supposed to put most of the value on the location, square footage and upgrades, they can still consider the upkeep and maintenance of the property when calculating value. In addition, appraisers are still human. If they walk into a home with last night’s dinner plates on the table, dirty laundry on the floor, and just a general mess throughout the rest of the home, it’s going to give them a certain impression about the home and with how you’ve cared for it.
So now I tell clients to prepare for an appraisal similar to how you would prepare for a potential buyer to come view your home. Maybe it doesn’t need to be perfect, but picked up and mostly clean would be great. Clean dishes off the counter and wipe them down, pick up clothes and toys, stack up loose books, magazines and papers, then open window blinds to let light in. Run a vacuum if you have time. Appraisers will look in, out and all around your home, so make sure the yard looks somewhat decent, as well.
This environment will leave the appraiser with a nice feeling about the home, and in case your value winds up on the borderline, the extra effort you went to to make it show well might just pay off to keep your deal together. While the hard “facts” will mostly determine your appraised value, there is a little wiggle room in regards to condition and maintenance that is mostly a subjective assessment by the appraiser. It’s to your benefit to give them the most favorable impression of your home’s condition.
If you have questions about real estate, call me at (925) 998-9712. Voted “Best of Brentwood” multiple times. To search the MLS for free, go to: www.SharpHomesOnline.com. Sharp Realty. #01245186