Experienced home sellers in Henrico know that reaching a sales agreement with a potential buyer can be just the start of the negotiation process. There are often inspection issues to resolve, among other items.

One particular negotiation point which can present difficulties for both buyers and sellers is when a home’s appraised value falls short of its contracted sales price.

Home appraisal remedies for home sellersSometimes, this happens because the home’s price was inflated. Other times, it’s the result of a faulty appraisal.

As a home seller, there are some common appraisal problems of which you should be aware. Here are some of them, and how to seek remedy so that the home sale process remains smooth.

Inaccurate comparisons
An appraiser will assign your home’s value based on comparable properties and recent sale prices. However, some homes — notably those in foreclosure; sold via short sale; or which were abandoned — sell at a discount as compared to non-distressed properties. An appraiser may want to ignore these types of comparable homes, or make proper valuation adjustments.

Ignored market conditions
The housing market can improve quickly as we’ve seen in some U.S. markets since 2011. Appraisers, though, may not consider a local market’s demand and its rapidly rising prices — especially after the recent downturn from last decade. If an appraiser is not taking into account such information as multiple offer situations, low local inventory, and days on market, your home’s appraised valuation may be affected.

Slow turn-around time
Appraisers operate under strict time guidelines. When an appraisal takes more time than usual, therefore, it’s often the result of the appraiser’s uncertainty on the home’s value. This is a common scenario for unique homes for which comparable properties are scarce. It can also be the case for when an appraiser is unfamiliar with your area. If an appraisal takes an inordinate amount of time to complete, consider asking your REALTOR® to review the figures.

To err is human and appraisers make mistakes occasionally. How you handle those mistakes as a seller can be the difference between a sold home and a canceled contract.

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Close faster on your mortgageWith mortgage rates at all-time lows, purchase and refinance activity is climbing.

Home sales are at their highest levels since May 2010 as home buyers take advantage of favorable economic conditions. Home prices are low, household income is rising, and rents are up in many U.S. cities.

Low rates have stoked mortgage refinance applications throughout Virginia , too.

Last week, with 30-year fixed rate mortgage rates slipping to 3.36% nationwide, on average, more U.S. homeowners were in search of a refinance than during any one-week period since April 2009.

With loan volume high, banks are nearing their respective capacities for underwriting and approving home loans. As a mortgage applicant, therefore, you’ll want to make sure that you’re taking whatever steps necessary to ensure that your home loan closes on-time, and without hassle.

You most important responsibility? Be responsive to your lender.

When asked for paperwork and/or supporting documentation, providing a 24-hour turnaround can keep your loan “top of mind” with your underwriter. This is important because underwriters are people and, sometimes, people “forget”. The fewer times that an underwriter has to “relearn” your file and its nuances, the better your chances for a speedy approval.

A secondary benefit to being responsive to your lender is that you’ll be less likely to miss your rate lock deadline which, too often, is a costly proposition for a borrower. Even if the mortgage market has improved since your original lock date, your lender may assess rate-lock extension fees equal to up to one-half percent of your loan size.

Other tips to ensure an on-time closing include :

  1. Disclose everything upfront. Your lender will find out anyway, so don’t under-disclose important facts.
  2. Be accessible. Your lender will often want to contact you by phone or email. Don’t lose days playing “phone tag”.
  3. When required, schedule your appraisal for as soon as possible. It’s easy to lose days to this part of the process.

And, lastly, don’t challenge an underwriter’s request for “more paperwork”. Lenders want to see as little paper as possible. They don’t ask for information that’s not required to approve your loan.

Mortgage volume is expected to remain high through the end of 2012 and into 2013. Follow these steps to help close your loan on time, and with few headaches. 

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Maximizing your home appraisalA home appraisal is an independent opinion of your home’s value, performed by a licensed home appraiser. Appraisals are part of the traditional home purchase process, and lenders require them for most refinances, too.

Appraisers are trained professionals. First, they derive a base for your home’s value based on the recent sales prices of homes that are comparable to yours in terms of bedrooms, bathrooms, style, and square footage.

Then, accounting for features and amenities that make your home different, the appraiser applies “adjustments” to that base value.

This methodology is called the “Sales Comparison” approach and the result is your home’s appraised value.

It’s the most common appraisal method used by lenders.

As a homeowner in Henrico , you can’t affect the sales prices of your home’s comparable properties, but you can help your appraiser understand how your home stands apart from these homes. This, in turn, can affect your home’s adjustments, resulting in a higher appraised value.

With home appraisals, every valuation dollar can matter. With that in mind, here are a few tips for maximizing your home’s appraised value :

  1. Be home for your appraisal so you can answer the appraiser’s question, if there are any.
  2. Mention any new roofing, flooring, HVAC, plumbing, or windows you’ve installed since purchase.
  3. Don’t mention projects or repairs you’re “about to undertake”. Appraisers don’t credit for unfinished projects.
  4. Make minor household fixes prior to the appraisal (e.g.; leaky sink, running toilet, peeling paint). 
  5. Present a tidy home. This can contribute to a higher “overall condition” adjustment.

Lastly, schedule the appraisal for a time that is convenient for your entire household. An appraiser needs to see, measure, and take photos of every room in your home. If a room’s door is closed because of a resting child, for example, the appraiser may need to schedule a second appointment to complete the appraisal, and that can raise your appraisal costs.

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