Whether you’re looking for a fair market valuation of your property for tax reasons or you’re considering refinancing, appraisal value is a super important piece of the puzzle. Luckily, there are plenty of ways you can increase the value of your home to ensure you get the most favourable assessment possible. The more you know about the process, the more likely you are to get the result you want in the end.

What Does A Home Appraiser Do?

The appraiser’s main role is to gather information that helps determine the current value of the property. They typically do this in two ways: by assessing the condition of the home and assessing recent sales/comparables.

Finding A Qualified Home Appraiser

Use a reputable service like The Appraisal Institute of Canada to ensure that the person you select has the proper education, qualifications and designations. For residential properties, you should look for members with at least the Candidate Member or Designated Appraiser Residential designations.

What Do Home Appraisers Look For?

A home appraiser comes to your property to do an analysis of your home’s market value based on several factors, including its size, condition, location, age, amenities and history of previous sale prices. Professional appraisers have specialized training and experience in property valuation, and their opinion carries a lot of weight with lenders. Putting in the work to increase your chances of a favourable assessment could help you secure that new loan you’re looking for.

Checklist To Prepare For Your Home Appraisal

Being prepared for your home appraisal could have a huge impact on your home’s overall valuation. Complete these nine tasks and you’ll be well on your way.

Clean Up Your Home

This may sound like a simple – and very obvious – answer, but it’s crucial. Clean and tidy homes just show better. When we say clean, we’re not talking about dusting your countertops and tidying the pillows on your couch. We’re talking deep cleaning your carpets, cleaning your baseboards and scrubbing your tiles. Not to mention making the time to declutter by removing excessive knick-knacks and organizing high traffic areas of your home. If you don’t have the time to commit to this critical step, look into hiring a professional to help.

Don’t Overlook Curb Appeal

The outside of your home sets the stage for the first impression. Make sure to complete the necessary maintenance depending on the current season; ensure the snow is cleaned and ice is melted in the winter, tidy up the garden beds and cut the grass in the spring/summer and make sure the leaves are raked in the fall. Take care to tidy and beautify entry areas and add some colour with potted plants.

Make A List Of Updates To Your Home

Not all updates are visible or obvious (like plumbing or electrical), so be sure to make a list of what was done and what costs were associated with the upgrades. If it’s possible to pass this list along to the inspector, be sure to do so. This way they’re aware of what investments were made and when the work was done as it could add extra value to your appraisal.

Highlight Other Desirable Features Of Your Home

You’re the one who has been living in the home, so surely you know the most about its desirable features. Make your own list of notables to brag about from the perspective of someone who is currently living in the space. As appraisers will always compare your home to others in the area, providing them with a list of your home’s most notable features will help give them a better idea of what yours offers over others.

Create A List Of Your Own Comparables

Knowing and understanding the comparables in your area will help you better navigate the results provided by your appraiser(s). If you’re up to date on comparable properties in your area and your neighbourhood’s growth overall, you’ll be better prepared to address any issues that may come up with your appraisal due to outdated or incorrect information. Consider printing out some MLS sales sheets from recent comparable property sales in your area to show you’re educated and serious about taking an active role in your home’s valuation.

Be Mindful Of How Much You’re Spending To Update Your Home

Despite what the internet may have you believe, updating your bathroom and kitchen doesn’t always mean you’ll get that value back in an appraisal. In fact, there’s never any guarantee with any renovations, so if you must update, be smart about it. The quickest and easiest way to add value to your home is to paint. Cover up any crayon marks and discoloured spots while providing an instant update to a dated or drab space. Aside from paint, opt for small changes that make a big impact. Instead of coming up with a $30,000 plan to gut your kitchen pre-appraisal, consider painting the cabinets, installing new fixtures or upgrading your lighting.

Remember The $500 Rule

Typically speaking, appraisers will often appraise homes in $500 increments, and they’ll take this into account when a repair or upgrade is required. This means a few small issues like leaky pipes, missing handrails or damaged windows could wind up having a significant impact on your overall value despite the fact that it may have cost you far less to fix yourself.

Temporarily Remove Pets From Home

While not-so-positive run-ins with pets shouldn’t impact your appraisal in any way, there’s no doubt that making the appraiser’s experience as positive as possible is never a bad idea. Consider temporarily removing any pets from the property so as not to cause any issues or commotion upon allowing an unknown stranger into their space.

Access Your Property’s Listing History

Knowing the listing history of the property will help you and the appraiser see how its value has changed over time. It will show when it sold, for how much and what upgrades or projects were undertaken that would have added value to the bottom line. Keeping track of the property’s value over time is an important part of understanding if your investment was a wise one and if the upgrades you’ve made on your own have added more value as a result.

We all want to get the most value possible for our homes, so it’s important that we take the necessary steps to prepare for home appraisals before they happen. Learning more about how the process works will help you better understand why it’s important. Following this list of nine tips will help you get ready for your next appraisal and breeze through it knowing you’ve done all you can to generate a favourable valuation. Thinking about refinancing? Want to learn more about how to add value to your home? Contact our team to continue the conversation.