Help Your Clients Through the Appraisal Process with 5 Tips

As a lender, you may wonder exactly how to best help your clients through the appraisal process successfully. Well, we’ve got the inside scoop for you! There are a few things you can do that will make a big difference in how smoothly the entire process goes.

There’s nothing like setting your clients up for success from the get-go, so let’s jump in.

1. Let Clients Know About Scheduling

Be sure to let your clients know that the appraiser will contact them directly to set up a time to do the appraisal and that returning calls to the appraiser is very important.

Due to the current shortage of appraisers around the country, if your clients don’t stay in contact and return calls promptly, there may be unavoidable delays in the appraisal process. None of us wants that!

2. Tell Clients to Clean Like They’re Trying to Sell the Home

While it’s true that a home’s cleanliness doesn’t technically affect its value, it’s also true that there’s nothing like giving the appraiser a good first impression. Think of it as dressing to impress.

It’s important for your clients to show that they care for their homes and are on top of maintenance. Plus, it’s easier to truly evaluate a home’s condition when it’s clean and cleared of clutter.

So, tell clients to clean the home like buyers are about to come through and evaluate it. That’s right, it’s time for a deep clean.

Begin by going through the home with a critical eye—homeowners should pretend that they are evaluating it as if they’ve never seen it before (it’s so easy to get used to problems when you’re living in a home).

Top things to clean:

  • Mop wood, vinyl, and tile floors
  • Wipe down walls and baseboards
  • Wipe down hardware and doorknobs
  • Wipe out cabinet and drawer interiors
  • Shampoo carpets
  • Fix squeaky doors
  • Clear away clutter
  • Make sure all lights are working
  • Clean windows inside and out
  • Clear out gutters
  • Power wash the exterior of the home
  • Mow the lawn
  • Trim shrubs and bushes

Another advantage of a thorough cleaning is the chance to notice any unforeseen problems and get them fixed before the appraiser ever comes through the home.

3. Be Aware of COVID-19 Appraisal Protocols and Procedures

COVID-19 has really changed the appraisal process. We’ve worked hard to make sure both appraisers and sellers stay safe throughout this time.

We have a few suggestions for your clients. They will really help us as we all work to keep everyone safe and healthy.

  1. Open all windows three hours before the appraiser comes to allow fresh air to circulate throughout the home.
  2. Open all closets, doors, and drawers and turn on all lights to minimize touching.
  3. Make sure to sanitize handles and doorknobs as soon as the appraiser leaves.
  4. If anyone in the home is feeling sick, they should immediately call the appraiser and reschedule the appointment for another time.

Please note that appraisers will use PPE when inspecting the home and will do everything they can to keep the sellers safe by touching surfaces as little as possible.

4. Leave a List of Home Improvements and Receipts

If the homeowner has a list of home improvements they’ve done and the corresponding receipts, it’s really helpful if they leave them all in a folder for the appraiser.

Homeowners should walk through the home. Make a list of all of the major improvements they’ve done since they purchased the home. Be sure to include the date and the cost of the improvement. They should also include any applicable permits or warranties that went along with the project.

The list of improvements should include aesthetic upgrades like kitchen and bathroom improvements, but it should also include functional and structural improvements. This may be things like a new water heather or a new furnace, changes that made the home more energy efficient, new built-in shelving, or a new roof.

Be over inclusive and give the appraiser all of the information about the improvements that have been made to the home. Even if some of them don’t increase the home’s value, it’s worth letting the appraiser decide if those projects make a difference to the bottom line or not.

Homeowners may also want to consider creating a one-page highlight sheet. Then the appraiser can easily see all the improvements that have been made.

Last, your clients should be ready to answer any questions the appraiser may have about any of the improvements they did in case more information is needed.

Help your clients through the appraisal process by making sure they’re prepared.

5. Make the Appraisal an Easy One by Being Nice

Make the appraiser’s job as easy as possible. Appraisers, just like anybody else, usually respond well when they’re treated with courtesy and respect.

These days especially, appraisers have full schedules and are under a lot of stress in addition to trying to stay healthy. The easier is for them to appraise your client’s home, the better.

This includes being on time for the appraisal and making it as simple as possible for the appraiser to navigate through the home, including the attic and any crawlspaces. A little extra thought can go a long way.

Planning to Help Your Clients Through the Appraisal Process

With just a little bit of advance communication and planning, you can help your clients through the appraisal process! If you’d like to experience what working the friendliest AMC around is like, give us a call today at (425) 967-3794 or just go here.

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