Middle Tennessee is a hot market for new jobs and, as a result, people looking to buy new homes. As Nashville and the surrounding neighborhoods continue to grow, the city is increasingly becoming a seller’s market. While buyers may be willing to pay more for a home, at the end of the day, the appraisal can have a big impact on a sale because a lender will only lend to the appraised value.

Although there’s no way to fully guarantee a home’s appraisal value, there are steps you can take to make sure your seller’s property appraises at the highest amount possible.

Understanding the Appraisal Process

First, it helps to understand what goes into an appraisal so you can better explain the process to your clients. This will help them understand the importance of setting a realistic sale price.

Once you have a contract in place, the buyer’s lender will begin by contacting a state-licensed or certified appraiser who will then inspect the home. This may be an interior and exterior review or exterior only. Additionally, the appraiser will research county and city records for the property and market, including recent sales and listings of comparable properties. Once they’ve determined an appraisal value, that number becomes how much the lender is willing to provide, regardless of the sale price.

Remember: The role of the appraiser is not to confirm the sale price of the home, but to provide the lender with an independent and impartial opinion of the value of the collateral the loan will be based on.

Working With Your Client Before Appraisal

Before entering into a contract with a potential buyer, set your client up for success by helping them choose a realistic price for the home. This shouldn’t be based on how much money the client needs but rather on the actual value of the property.

The most accurate way to go about this is by doing the work of an appraiser yourself. First, review comparable homes that have sold over the last three months. Then, talk with your client about all improvements (and the cost of those improvements) made to the home, as well as any contracts in place for ongoing maintenance. While sellers won’t get 100 percent back for work done to the home, it can help bring the value up.

Once you’ve set a price, do everything you can to make the home appear well maintained. Keep the flower beds neat and the yard mowed for better curb appeal. If necessary, trim any unruly hedges or tree branches. From there, have the home show-ready in case an interior inspection is required.

Working with the Appraiser

Remember all that research you did to help set the sale price? Package it up and send it to the appraiser. While they’ll be doing their own digging into the history of the property, the more information you can provide showing value, the better.

Next, plan to meet the appraiser at the home. The best way to ensure they won’t complete and inspection without an appointment is by removing the lock box. This way you’ll be present during the appraisal to help answer any questions or provide additional information about home value.

For more information on the appraisal process, check out this brochure developed by The Appraisal Foundation available from the National Association of Realtors.

Going Above and Beyond For Your Clients

If you’re willing to take these extra steps to give your seller the best experience possible, you may be a fit for the Benchmark team. Take our quick online assessment and learn more about becoming a Benchmark agent today!