Top 4 Things a Realtor Should Do Before The Appraiser Arrives. PLUS an Extra Added Bonus: The Top 1 Thing Not to Do During the Appraisal Inspection

In this blog post, I wanted to quickly touch on some of the items that a realtor should be prepared for when the appraiser comes for the purchase appraisal. In order to avoid delays and extra fees for additional visits to the property, here are a few helpful tips.

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1. Make sure that the Utilities Are On and the Mechanicals are Working
For lending transactions, appraisers are required to verify that the utilities are on and the mechanicals are all functioning properly. Water, gas and electricity should be on. The appraiser will turn on the gas range, run the water and turn on the lights to confirm all are working.

2. Itemize upgrades and Improvements & Feel Free to Bring Some Comps
Do not be afraid to provide the appraiser with data. I, for one, welcome it! Not all appraisers share my thoughts on this, so be prepared for rejection. (You are in sales-that should not be a foreign concept).
Bring a detailed list of improvements and the dates that they were completed. You can bring sales comparables, but be sure not to cherry pick from a price range that suits this transaction. Appraisers choose comps based on similar physical aspects and in close proximity to your home. Bring comparable sales, if they are not comparable-they may not be utilized in the report.

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3. Backstage Pass/All Area Access
Your appraiser should be granted the equivalent of a Backstage Pass/All Area Access to a concert. The appraiser will need to access every room of the house and the entire perimeter of the exterior. It is necessary to see and document the materials and condition of all parts of the house. If any rooms are locked or inaccessible, the appraiser will need to make a return trip to view the rooms and the borrower will incur an additional fee for the return visit. You need to get Mick Jagger out of his locked dressing room for a brief peek by the appraiser

4. Safety Items
Lenders have become increasingly concerned about the Carbon Monoxide Alarms, Smoke Alarms and Water Heaters. It is very common to view a home for a purchase appraisal that has no Carbon Monoxide Alarm. In California, this has been a requirement for existing single family residences since July 1, 2011. CO alarms must be installed outside each separate sleeping area in the immediate vicinity and on every level. The water heater also must be double strapped, water heaters that are 75 gallons or larger need a third strap for bracing. Not all lenders are requiring appraisers to report on smoke alarms, but I feel that soon it will be a part of every appraisal report. California Code is smoke alarms are to be installed on each floor, in each bedroom and in the immediate vicinity outside the bedrooms. These three items are the most common reasons for a re-inspection. Please make sure that you have all of these items in place before the appraiser arrives. I will cover these in more depth in a future blog post

EXTRA ADDED BONUS!!! The Top 1 Thing Not to Do During the Appraisal Inspection
I am not sure how to tiptoe around this very important item, so I will come right out with it. Do not discuss value with the appraiser-in any way, shape or form. Do not mention that you are certain that the property will appraise. It will definitely appraise, that’s why the appraiser is there. However, there is a possibility that it may not appraise at the number you sold it at. You know when you have pushed the upper end of the value range and so does the appraiser. Keep in mind that the appraiser is the eyes of the lender. They have to report on what they saw and determine a reasonable, supported value. They are not there to ruin the deal, only to produce a credible report that the lender can use to make a lending decision. Be very careful about what you say, some appraisers are very sensitive to the pressure to hit the value.

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That being said, go out sell some houses (at a price that the appraiser can support), have your house ready for the inspection, and the appraisal portion of the transaction should be smooth sailing.