5 Tips for Getting Your Home Appraised

An Appraisal Can Put You Ahead of the Curve

Price your home incorrectly and it could mean a long stay on the market, a final selling price lower than what the house is worth, or both.

That's why some homeowners are electing to pay $300 to $400 for an appraisal before putting their homes on the market.

Although real estate agents often do their own market analysis to price a property, and usually do a decent job, the appraiser can come in with an independent, unbiased opinion to make sure the price is right. In fact, if a property isn't getting any serious lookers, an agent might even encourage his or her client to invest in the service for a second pricing opinion.

The greater attention to precise pricing is a change from a couple of years ago, when a house could be listed at a lofty price just to see how much it would fetch. Now sellers need to be competitive and know that the offers coming in are reasonable. Also, if a property spends too much time on the market, the price it will be able to command often decreases as some buyers will question the reasons for the property's inability to sell.

An appraisal will look at the home from a visual standpoint, taking into account considerations from the proximity to schools, to cracking or flaking paint. They're trying to see the home the way a typical purchaser would.

The appraisal also will analyze the health of the local real estate market, giving homeowners more personalized expectations for selling their home - a feature especially important with the abundance of national news coverage generalizing the real estate market.