Preparing for Appraisals – Contracts and Comps

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You’ve sold your home and are getting ready for the appraisal. Here’s how contracts and comparable home sales impact the appraisal.

Your Contract

One of the indications of value an appraiser takes into consideration is the contract that exists between unrelated parties for the sale and purchase of the home. As odd as this may sound, sales between relatives often downgrade an appraisal amount. So if you’re not selling your home to a relative, make a nice clean copy of your contract, and give it to the appraiser who appraises your home.

Comparable Sales

In general, when you are selling your primary residence, the person buying it is going to make it his primary residence, too. An appraisal done in that situation usually gives the most value to what similar houses have sold for in the same neighborhood (or nearby) recently, and doesn’t pay much attention to the ability of the property to generate rental income or to what it would cost to replace it.

Therefore, the appraiser is going to be looking for homes which have sold in your area in the past few months. If you know of a sale of a similar home at a good price, tell the appraiser about it. Make sure your information is accurate first, however. Don’t just share neighborhood gossip. Check the sales price at the courthouse.

Be careful how you handle these last two suggestions. You want to come across as quietly helpful and factual. You do not want to convey to the appraiser that you question his ability to do his job well.

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