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Real Property Appraisals/Refinance appraisal - what do they look for.

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Question
I understand they are looking for improvements, size, condition of the home, etc.  We have an appraisal next week and I am nervous.  We do have a few things that could stand to be done, but I am not sure how crucial these items are.  Windowsills that are missing some paint from our dog, no flowers planted out front (it's winter, after all), house could use a power wash, carpets could stand to be cleaned.  However we are limited as to what we can spend between now and then, as I have been out of work for over two months on medical leave.  That reduced our income.  We are also running on limited time.  Our house has no structural issues or leaks that we are aware of, the walls have no holes (some superficial scuffs from kids), I would say overall we are in good shape except for some of these items I've mentioned.  How crucial are these, and what would be most important to take care of before Thursday (it's Saturday)?  The other part of this question is this - how important is it to have a super clean house?  I plan to do our regular cleaning, but we do have a lot of stuff, and most is upstairs in the room over the garage - sort of a catch-all area.  We also have a lot of pets.  The carpets do have some stains, but a good steam cleaning would take care of most of that.  If you could kind of explain what is the best to focus on, what is less important, and the potential impact of these items (positive or negative) I would be SO appreciative!

Answer

Frankie,

First of all, I apologize for not responding sooner. I just missed the e-mail from AllExperts.

With respect to your question, if you are obtaining an FHA appraisal, all chipped and peeling paint will have to be removed, especially if your house was built before 1978. Prior to 1978, paint contained lead, and chipped and peeling paint can be injested by young children.

I don't know in what part of the country you are located, but no flowers in parts of the country that freeze for long periods is not a major issue for me. Flowers don't grow in snow and freezing temperatures.

The fewer items that stand out as what an appraiser refers to as "deferred maintenance" the better for you. If you can afford to steam clean the carpet, get that done. That will be something the appraiser will not have to note.

With respect to the "catch all" room, this makes no difference to me if I'm inspecting a house. Our garage is the "catch all" area of our house. However, if you can organize the "stuff" so it is neat and not strewn all over the room, it would look better.

As to power washing your house, again it depends upon your weather. If you have snow on the ground and have freezing temperatures, I don't know how you are going to power wash. Perhaps, you could just try to scrape and wash the dirtiest areas.

With respect to pets, perhaps you could have some bread or a cake baking just before the appraiser comes to get some pleasing smells in the house. You may not be able to smell pet odors because you live there, but you don't want the appraiser to smell pet odors.

If you have kids, get their rooms spiffed up and organized. (If they are like my kids were - good luck with that one)

Otherwise, you appear to have a typical house. The only final suggestion I have is to go carefully thru your house looking for anything that stands out. It is easy to overlook items because you live there.

Good luck to you

John C. Carlson
CA Certified General Real Estate Appraiser
Victorville and Diamond Bar CA
www.jccrea.com  

Real Property Appraisals

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John C. Carlson

Expertise

Any questions regarding commercial and/or residential appraising, appraisals or real estate valuation such as: appraising as a profession, valuation techniques, comparable sales selection & analysis, the new HVCC and how it affects appraisers & Borrowers. Also, questions like: "Why did my appraisal come in low & what can I do about it?" I cannot answer questions about comparable data in areas in which I do not practice. I have expertise in most areas of So. California.

Experience

31-years both commercial and residential valuation experience. State of CA Certified General Real Estate Appraiser, licensed to appraise all property types. FHA Approved. Specialized expertise with historic, architectural & luxury residential property valuation. Experienced in industrial building and small commercial property valuation. Experienced Reviewer of appraisal reports and expertise with intensive forensic reviews to uncover fraudulent appraisal reports. Expert Litigation and Expert Witness experience.

Organizations
Associate Member of the Appraisal Institute. Associate Member of the Certified Fraud Examiners.

Publications
Numerous posts to Blogs. Please "Google" "John C. Carlson Real Estate Appraisals" where a list of responses I have made will show up.

Education/Credentials
Numerous classes by the Appraisal Institute since 1978 in the practice areas in which I specialize

Past/Present Clients
First Republic Bank Wells Fargo Bank California Bank & Trust Preferred Bank Numerous Attorneys.

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