What Is Involved in a Home Appraisal?

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Your preparation for a home appraisal can be as important as the appraisal itself. Thorough preparation makes the process smoother for you, and it also can help you get an appraisal that accurately reflects the value of your home.


Be prepared to gather several documents pertaining to your home before the appraisal gets under way. The appraiser will need to see a copy of the deed, a current property tax bill and other documents. You also have to provide information about your mortgage, including what type of mortgage you have. For example, some war veterans have Veterans Administration mortgages that offer special loan terms.


Get your home in the best shape possible before the appraiser visits. Pay special attention to how the walls look, and paint them if necessary. Make sure the lawn is mowed and bushes are trimmed. Some things that affect the value of your home can't be changed, such as its size and location. However, a home that's neat and in good shape will make a better impression for the appraisal.


Use a couple of the free, home-value estimates available online to get an idea of how much your home is worth before you have it appraised. Home appraisers use different valuation methods, and that can be a problem if you want a loan linked to the value of your home. For instance, perhaps you're seeking a second mortgage on your house with the intention of using money from that mortgage to pay off other bills. An overinflated appraisal on your house could get you a large loan, but it also could leave you owing much more on your home than it's actually worth.