Profile picture for user210080

My husband is convinced we should have an appraiser BEFORE preparing our home for sale. Wrong?

We need to neutralize the paint, and replace old carpet with hopefully hardwood floors.  I feel we should also replace a black refrigerator with a stainless.  It is over 15 yrs old. We have a stainless dishwasher and JennAire dual fuel range/oven and I think a stainless frig would entice a buyer more than the old one.  We replaced cabinetry in 1990 and plan to replace hardware after cleaning and polishing (oak).  I think after these modifications are made, then it would be time for an appraiser.  My husband thinks to have one come in now and then after the modifications, if necessary.  I think he is trying to avoid huge costs in selling but these updates will help guarantee a sale without having to make large allowances.
  • September 02 2013 - Peoria
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Answers (19)

Your money would be better spent by obtaining a home inspection rather than an appraisal. Any good realtor can provide you with a CMA and give you an idea what the home should be listed for. However, a home inspection will give you a look at any lurking internal repairs that could come up during a buyers own home inspection once under contract. If there are leaky pipes, old water heater, unknown mold in attics, electrical problems, inadequate venting in crawl spaces, perhaps high radon levels, etc. Some of these issues could prevent the buyer from obtaining a mortgage if they are not fixed.
  • September 08 2013
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Profile picture for lplushnick
I think there is a time and place to get an appraisal.  First, the difference with getting an appraisal prior is the fact that you will see value with the Appraiser having no idea of what you would list it for.  This matters because when you have a contract and then the bank does an appraisal, they know what the buyer is paying and that number is mentally known. With an appraisal in general it can be helpful with mostly buying a property for cash (because you do not have a loan and you need to know if your property is worth what you are paying).  Sometimes the appraisal will not be helpful because they may not know the neighborhoods as well as if an Agent does their own valuation.  Reason being, when an appraisal is done, they use zip codes, square footage, and bed/bath.  This means nothing if they don't know the value of some areas in the zip code.  Zipcodes could be large and maybe your home is in the higher desired area.  Some of these appraisers do not even live there and can be unaware completely of value.  I recommend a highly qualified respected Agent to let you know what they think...Thanks..Lisa
  • September 08 2013
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Best is to interview few experienced brokers that will offer you a free CMA and looking at the property will be able to give you the best possible advice.

Good luck!
  • September 07 2013
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I agree with getting an Appraisal before you list it especially if there are limited to no comps available to help determine a good List Price.
  • September 03 2013
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I believe an agent will provide a much more accurate idea of the market value of your home. 

Sometimes yes, sometimes no. Accuracy depends on the person, not the occupation.

As an appraiser AND Realtor, I can tell you the advantage of getting an appraisal is that the appraiser is a 'dis-interested' party in valuing your home. A Realtor is not.

A Realtor - and I as a Realtor - in giving a free CMA, always has 'some skin in the game' in valuing the property. With an appraiser, you pay him/her for the expertise, that's it. With a Realtor, you're getting a salesperson always thinking about 'getting that listing' . A Realtor is a salesperson first and foremost.

Some people get appraisals so they DONT have to deal with a salesperson possibly bugging them for weeks on getting that listing - that's the whole point. Some people will think being a salesperson will shade their true feelings of a value, ie the Realtor will 'say' whatever the seller wants to hear, either on the high side or low side, just to get that listing. Realtors know the CMA is your first step in getting a listing.

I work in the So Cal area, and this issue is more apparent here, especially in places like Beverly Hills, Malibu, etc. I know in some areas this isnt a factor, but I know in some areas it is.

Bottom line - If you dont mind spending money on an impartial, maybe very accurate valuation of your property, go for the appraisal. If you dont mind on a salesperson maybe pressuring you for your listing, go for the free Realtor CMA.
  • September 03 2013
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Good question with many helpful responses.  I will offer my view.

The appraisal is based on the location, lot size, square footage, improvements (additions and major upgrades) and importantly comparison with recently sold properties in your area.  In my area these are 3 comparables sold within the last 6 months.

I believe an agent will provide a much more accurate idea of the market value of your home.  This will include a larger number of more precise comparables, a estimate of the rate of return for your upgrades/updates based on market data, and other items.

That being said the property must appraise in order for the buyer to get mortgage financing, unless of course they are paying cash.

In summary work with a great agent that will help you properly price your home.

Best of luck
  • September 03 2013
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Don't waste your money on two appraisals. All the items you're talking about doing will help the house sell faster and possibly for more money - but won't necessarily help with the appraisal. The appraisal will give you a good idea of what you might get for the house --- but so will a good agent. In fact, in certain areas houses are moving so quickly that an appraisal done today may show less value than what the house sells for a few months from now.

Bottom line - I'd do those upgrades. If in your area, refrigerators tend to stay with the house, stainless steel is a must. If most people take their refrigerators, don't bother... or better yet, buy on Craigslist.
  • September 03 2013
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Profile picture for Andrew Malak
It is a good idea to do an appraisal when putting home on the market. Sure you can wait after the repairs. However, do not expect the value to go too much up.
  • September 03 2013
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Profile picture for hpvanc
I would wait until after the improvements to do the appraisal. You may want to make contact with the appraiser before you make the improvements to see if they will give you a general idea how much it will increase the value (unless the frig is built in it is not part of the property and not included in the appraised value).
  • September 02 2013
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Profile picture for blue screen exile
Even if you pay for an appraisal or two now, the buyer still has to pay for an appraisal if the buyer is planning on getting a mortgage, so it doesn't really save anything, other than helping to determine a listing price.  But a listing price is as much about "strategy" as it is "present market value".

As for a new refrig?  that is "personal property" and doesn't convey with the house, unless someone specifically asks to buy the personal property.

Kind of strange that you would pay $1200 or more for a new refrigerator that you will never get to use, that doesn't add a penny of value to the house, that you will likely end up selling for $600 or less, or have to take with you.

Changing paint color doesn't change the appraised value.  Neither does new hardware on kitchen cabinets, nor cleaning the cabinet doors.  If the carpet is "worn", it would decrease the appraised value, thus likely a good thing to replace if you have had differed maintenance.

Yes, "curb appeal" and "first impressions" determine if anyone will even look at the house, and if they will consider making an offer.  So any low cost methods of increasing curb appeal and "appearance" are probably worthwhile before putting it on the market.
  • September 02 2013
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I think your husband is thinking along the right track - refrigerators have become more energy efficient in the 21st century, old carpet is never in fashion, and it's good to refresh the place before selling it.

The appraisal isn't going to help anything at all. No buyer is going to base their offer on it, and the modifications you're making don't really lend themselves to objective data analysis.

All the best,
  • September 02 2013
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Now is fine, as the upgrades you note can be factored into your value for the appraisal. Either way is fine.

Here is a link to find a local appraiser in your area.

In addition to the appraisal, I would talk to a few LOCAL Realtors in your area about the value, as well as for finding a Realtor to list your home. Realtor CMA's are free and usually factor in active and pending listings into your home's ultimate value.

Appraisals are a good idea, especially for higher priced homes. ALSO get the appraiser to do an accurate sketch of your home and use that as a selling tool when listing the home with a Realtor.

Make the sure appraiser is also LOCAL to your home and that the appraiser specializes in residential property, not commercial .
  • September 02 2013
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Profile picture for Anita Billado
It depends.... I think sometimes it is a good idea to have a home appraised especially if it's a one of a kind or if you have improved your house to the point where it may be out of line in your particular neighborhood or market.  Sometimes it can be good to justify your asking price with an appraisal.  Or it is done when you may have real estate agents giving you a great range of numbers.
  • September 02 2013
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Profile picture for 1wisedad
Appraising is an art, not a science.  They all use the same basic philosophy, but can use very different paths to get to a final result.  I would highly recommend having a Realtor come out and look at the property before you do anything.  Good Realtor's will be able to tell you the things that are most important for you to do before putting your house on the market.  They will be able to give you local feedback on what is happening in your market. Good luck!
  • September 02 2013
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If you had very few comparable properties in your area that had sold in the past few months that made it very difficult for your Realtor to come up with a range of value for your property, then yes you should have an appraiser  evaluate your property.  If there are plenty of comps, then do not spend the money on an appraisal at this time.  If your husband really wants to pay for an appraisal, wait until you have an offer from a qualified buyer and then the two of you can offer to cover this cost for your buyer.
In my area, an appraisal can cost up to $500 for a basic house.
  • September 02 2013
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Profile picture for Outer Banks N C
Many appraisers I know won't do an appraisal like what you want. They prefer to have a target to shoot for, like an offered price they just have to justify. You are going to want them to do what a Realtor does fro free and sometimes they don't want to if they are already busy. I would be curious to see how it works out for you. I can tell you a buyer won't care about it and their lender won't use it.

Another thing a seller can do is have a home inspection done, This can help eliminate that nasty home inspection at the last minute by a buyer where they ask for more money off the price after you already gave up some. Showing a buyer what they came up with and proof that you already fixed it can be a good sales tool.
  • September 02 2013
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An appraisal is not necessary when preparing your property for the market. A licensed Realtor can do a Comparative Market Analysis that will provide you with a sound range for pricing your home. If you are looking to do upgrades and improvements to make your home market ready a Realtor that has experience in home staging would be a big plus. 
  • September 02 2013
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Profile picture for Helen E Ray
It depends on what you want to achieve by having it appraised. Getting an appraisal usually is done for the financing for the buyer. If you are looking for a professional opinion on how and what to change to make your home more marketable and valuable you should speak with a licensed realtor that is familiar with your neighborhood. This will cost you nothing. : )
  • September 02 2013
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Good idea. It's $300--400 well spent.  I'd say do your upgrades first--get an appraisal and it'll give you the accurate price to list your home.
If you get the appraisal before upgrades--it's speculation what your home "could" be worth.
Take the mystery out of it, so to speak.
Remember upgrades increase your value.  Upgrades in other similar homes that aren't in yours decreases your value.
  • September 02 2013
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