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How to Prepare for the Appraisal Site Visit

Mar 03, 2021

Have you heard the saying “You never get a 2nd chance to make a 1st impression.” ?  This statement certainly applies in the real estate business.  A buyer’s 1st impression of a home is critical.  Chances are if the 1st impression of the home is negative the buyer will not buy that home. 

We were going through our picture files recently.  Many of the folders we were editing had old appraisal photos of homes in them. It was obvious when looking at many of the appraisal photos that homeowners did not prepare their home for the appraisal site visit. The photos were of dark rooms.  Many photos had clothes on the floor. It was surprising to see the number of homeowners who did not seem to care about the condition of the home during the appraisal site visit.

Real estate agents explain the importance of preparing a home for sales showings.  Many agents share a checklist with the homeowner for the showings.  The checklist has things on it such as:

  • turn all the lights in the house
  • open the curtains and blinds
  • take out the trash
  • make sure the house smells clean
  • put clothes away
  • replace burned out light bulbs
  • keep yard mowed
  • find a place for the pets


The appraiser is the expert who comes to your home to determine the value of your home. Why wouldn’t a homeowner try to make the 1st impression of their home positive? Maybe, it is because there is a lack of understanding the appraisal process?  Maybe, homeowners do not realize that the appraiser is visiting the home to determine the value of the home? The home will leave an impression on the appraiser just as the home left an impression on potential buyers during sales showings.

Appraisers determine value by researching comparable property sales.  The comparable sales determine the value of a home and all improvements. Comparable sales are the evidence appraisers use to support the market value that is determined.  There are, however, a few sections of the appraisal report that can be a bit subjective. The condition of a home certainly can affect the way a person perceives the home. It is human nature for our feelings about something to sway us one way or the other. If an appraiser is debating about giving a home a Quality 3 rating or a Quality 4 rating then the appraiser might naturally think about how the home made him/her feel as the final quality ratings are given. 

It is important to think of the appraisal site visit as another sales showing of the home.  Turn on all the lights, open the curtains and blinds, take the trash out, and tidy up!  You are “showing” your home to the appraiser.  Let the appraiser see the same home your buyer did. A clean, tidy and well-lit home will allow the appraiser to focus on the true quality of your home.

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