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Having Your House Appraised

by Lee Dobbins

Having your house appraised can be a scary step in the moving process, especially if you don’t know what to expect. Will your house pass muster or will they find some hidden defects and problems lurking in the basement and attic? Should you scrub the house clean?

Don’t worry – this isn’t a test of how clean you keep your house or even if your house has problems (that will be for the home inspector to find out). The appraiser is there to determine a fair market value for your home. Whether you are selling the house or refinancing, this is a common part of the process and the inspector is quite used to traipsing about peoples homes in all kinds of disarray so you need not be embarrassed if your house is messy and it will not affect the value the appraiser puts on the property.

Determining the market value of your home is necessary so that your lender knows the home is valued at or above the amount of money you are borrowing. An appraisal is an estimate of worth. It is an opinion but is not entirely a subjective process. The FNMA, Federal National Mortgage Association sets up the guidelines and assigns values to certain assets of your home to ensure a fair sale.

The value of your home will be determined by comparing it to similar area properties that have sold in the past few months. The appraiser looks for properties that have the same number of bedrooms, baths, square footage and amenities like a fireplace or garage in your neighborhood or town. They start by looking at your neighborhood to find comparable sales or properties in similar neighborhoods that share similar characteristics of lifestyles, income level of residents, surroundings, average age and home values. A valid appraisal can be done when 3 or more properties similar to your own have been found.

Once the appraiser has these homes, there will be some adjustments made to take into consideration features that your home has the others don’t or features they have that you don’t. These features have nothing to do with your décor – they are based solely on house size, rooms and amenities so your hot pink kitchen will not affect the value of your home appraisal!

The process is quite methodical and done to standard practices so you need not worry. If you are moving and you have hired a realtor, you will find the appraisal will come in right on the button for what they have valued your home at. Most realtors know the market quite well so you needn’t worry that your buyer won’t be able to secure funding because of your home appraisal.

About the Author

Lee Dobbins writes for where you can learn more about moving. Find out about selling your house at

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