A home evaluation by a qualified realtor is essential before you place your house on the market. In fact, making this a practice while you live in your home, either yearly or every few years is a good idea. A realtor is the perfect person for this task and here’s the why and how of getting your home appraised.
Why hire a realtor versus an appraiser for this task?
This is a great question and one that you should consider before you make your next move to get your home appraised by just anyone.
- Realtors work in this area day in and day out
- They are in touch with what the values are in that area
- They do their research of the area and find comparable properties to determine the value
- Highly knowledgeable of the local properties and can answer your questions
So now that you understand the value of getting a realtor to appraise your home, let’s look at why an appraisal is important and why every home owner should get one when thinking of selling their own and in other circumstances.
There are many reasons to get an appraisal including:
- knowing what the monetary value of your asset is
- determining the fair market value
- what your home should sell for on an open market (listing price)
- to determine the property tax assessed value might be
- lending institutions require professional appraisals
- refinancing your home to make sure the value justifies the loan.
- Property values increase over time and its a good idea to refresh that data to ensure your home increased in value too.
- On the downside (but part of reality) an appraisal is also good to get when divorce or separation are imminent (for both parties) to reach a fair value for the home and establishing a measurement for splitting assets.
Now that we know the who and the why of appraisals, let’s look at the factors involved in getting your home appraised. What exactly are realtors looking for in order to evaluate the cost of your home?
Overall condition of the home
- Curb appeal is a big factor. Is your home made of siding, stucco or brick?
- How does your foundation look?
- Is there water issues or leaks?
- Is the lawn nicely landscaped? Are there any trees?
- What is the condition of the chimney?
- Are the floors even or sloping, creaking, bouncy?
- How old is the roof? What type of roofing is used (shingle. steel)
- What type of house is it? Bungalows, 2 Storeys, Split Levels, Attached, Detached?
- Is there a garage or shed and what is the size?
- Is there a yard? Is it fenced in or not? How big is the lot? Is there direct access?
- Is there a basement? Is there a walkout from basement?
- What the square footage is. What are the size of the rooms?
- What is your home layout?
- Is there storage space?
What type of updates have been done recently and what needs updating?
The condition of the following items will be considered in the value of your home:
- electrical panel
- paint on walls
- finished or unfinished basement
- type of furnace
- Air conditioner
- drywall or plaster
Location is a factor
What is the condition of other homes in your area? What amenities are close by such as shopping, schools, hospitals or clinics, local conveniences like gas stations, coffee shops, bus routes, mailboxes, parks, dog parks, and utilities. Even access to things like wifi/internet are important.
Current Market in that location
How are homes selling in the area? Looking at homes similar to your own with similar features can help provide a measure of what a buyer will pay for the home. No homes are exactly alike and home renovations can add value.
Realtors will find the comparable value of your home in relation to homes in your area with similar features and then look at what might be missing or available as a feature to sort the difference of these variables that influence purchase decisions.
Organization and Clean Living
Buyers use judgement when viewing a home. The cleaner and more organized your home is at first glance, the closer you will be to selling. This simple step can add value at little cost to you. Some things that hinder the value and sales are smoking in the home, pet odours, water damage or mold and mildew smell, food odours, any evidence of mouse or rat droppings or bug infestations. Be sure to tend to all of these before you even consider placing your home on the market to avoid a long drawn out selling process.
So what’s next?
So now that you know what goes into an appraisal, you can begin asking yourself the right question “What improvements might be needed to add value to your home in your current market”. A realtor can help you determine those answers and get you on the right path to selling your home for the best possible value.