So often I hear that a home’s appraised value turns out to be less than what the homeowner was expecting and anticipating, especially if improvements have been made to the home over time. Low appraisals are becoming a bigger problem for many would-be buyers and refinancers due to home values starting to stabilize and even rise in some markets, like here in the Lehigh Valley.

Not only is our area seeing signs of stabilization, we are starting to experience an increase in the price of homes, as well as a slight increase in interest rates. If you’re a buyer still on the fence about whether or not now is a good time, take a look at what waiting could be costing you.

Back to your home appraisal. If you are a seller, you need your home to appraise for at least what you want to sell it for. If you’re refinancing, you will only be able to get a loan for the appraised value of your home. In both of these situations, you want your home appraisal to be as accurate and high as possible.

Here are a few helpful tips to improve your home appraisal:

DOCUMENT ANY HOME IMPROVEMENTS

The first rule in documenting improvements, upgrades, and other fixes you’ve made to your home is to be able to PROVE it, so hanging onto your receipts becomes very important! Whether it was a short trip to the store for a new faucet or a complete renovation, you’ll want to be able to show the home appraiser documentation so he or she can accurately determine a value.

In addition to receipts, be able to provide before and after pictures, and be sure to make the home appraiser aware of any structural improvements to the harder to see items like electrical systems and heating and cooling systems, which play a large factor in the appraisal.

PROVIDE COMPARABLES

Comps, or comparables, are regarded as the single-best tool in determining a home’s value. They contrast criteria from recently-sold properties in a neighborhood, such as sale price, age of house, size, and square footage.

Prepare in advance and provide your appraiser with at least three solid and well-priced comparable properties to insure the price information is really similar to yours. I can help you determine comps in the Lehigh Valley, so please don’t hesitate to contact me!

ADD THE MOST VALUE

Kitchens and bathrooms typically provide the highest return on investment, so if you’re going to be making changes, start there. Other home improvement projects that add the most value are wood floors, landscaping and an attached garage.

What other home appraisal information would be helpful to you?

Contact me, Barb Bottitta, for any and all of your Lehigh Valley area questions, as well as real estate needs, as I am always happy to help in any way that I can!  You can also connect with me on my Facebook Page for events and happenings in the Lehigh Valley area, as well as home ownership tips, real estate market updates, and so much more!

There are many great Lehigh Valley area homes for sale.  Click here to perform full home search, or if you’re thinking of selling your home, click here for a FREE Home Price Evaluation so you know what buyers will pay for your home in today’s market.  You may also call me at (610) 398-8408 for a FREE home buying or selling consultation to answer any of your real estate questions.