If you’re looking to sell or refinance your home, you know that a home appraisal is a necessary step in the process. While the value of your home may not be what it once was, it is important for homeowners to be realistic when it comes to getting their home appraised.

As a member of the Top 5 in Real Estate Network®, I know how vital it is to list your home at the right price. Price is, after all, only a part of marketing…but it is crucial, and having an appraisal done is the first step toward making the right pricing decision.

Here are 11 ways to prepare for a home appraisal:

1. The appraiser will need approximately 30 minutes to one hour to complete the inspection phase of the appraisal process, which includes: exterior photos of the front and rear of the home and a photo of the street in front of the property; measurements of the exterior of the home, garage and any outbuildings; a walk-through inspection of all rooms and levels of the interior of the home, including the basement.
2. Get organized. Put together a checklist that will help you get ready for your appraisal.
3. Be flexible when scheduling the appointment.
4. Have a copy of your home’s blueprint to help verify measurements and lot size.
5. Provide a list of improvements made to the property since the purchase. Improvements that should be noted include adding a pool, patio, updating your kitchen or bathroom, and any room additions, etc.
6. Allow your appraiser access to the entire property, including access to any crawl space or attic areas.
7. Keep in mind that a clean home makes a good impression. Be sure to trim the lawn, clean the pool and garage, repair cracked windows or torn screens, check for leaky faucets and secure gutters and down spouts before your appraisal.
8. Point out any amenities that may not be obvious to the appraiser: sprinkler systems, patios, pools, security systems, built-in pool vacuum, etc.
9. Provide a copy of last year's tax assessment information.
10. Know what year the house was built and when improvements were made.
11. The first thing appraisers look for is comparables, so be prepared and have a list of recent sales of similar properties in the immediate neighborhood.

Following these steps will go a long way toward making the home appraisal process a bit easier. For more information on home appraisals and preparing your home for sale, please e-mail me—and please feel free to forward these tips to any family and friends with a home sale in their future.