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Home Appraiser Coming Tomorrow, Help!

We have a home appraiser coming tomorrow to do an appraisal on our home. We are trying to qualify for a home loan to build a fence around our yard. My questions is, what can we do to make our house look better and appraise higher? Does anyone have any suggestions and know some secrets to the trade. Thank you for your time and responses!

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do you really have to get a loan to build a fence? I mean, a home equity loan is essentially a 2nd mortgage. Not to jump on a soapbox, but you'll save money in the long run if you can save for several month to pay for the fence in cash. Than again, I'm all about being debt free. Anyway, probably not totally helpful, but I thought I'd toss the idea out there.

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As someone once a realtor, appraisers aren't like realtors or prospective buyers. They don't care if your house is messy, if laundry is left out, HOWEVER they will be looking at square footage, looking at conditions of your home inside and out,condition of foundation, cracks, the bathrooms, is the caulking done will, are fixtures in good shape, is the yard well taken care of, that stuff.

They are comparing your house to the ones in your area that have sold or been appraised. They take it with comparable sq ft, number of bathrooms, number of bedrooms and any updates you have done and even checking off for things that need updating.

So you cannot do anything over night to make it worth more in the aprrasising dept.If you have a nice home, in a good area, well maintained (not talking about cleaning) then you should just know it will be fine. You can go online to things like realtor.com and get a comparable for your neighborhood to see what they are selling for too.

Can I suggest realizing fencing your yard may not be deemed as an improvemet though. If you want to put money into your home make sure it ups the value. If the fence is in poor shape then of course replacing it is a positive, but something you can do yourself inexpensively and with some help of family or friends. Adding to your mtg isn't a good thing to do unless you are upping the value of your home.
Adding a deck or things like that can add value, ask your appraiser tomorrow what value adding a fence will do for your home. I highly recommend waiting, saving for it and doing it yourself to put a fence in and not paying interest rate loan or adding to the liabilty to your mortgage if you don't have a increase in value. You always want to be able to get back out what you invest in your home if possible. Just my experience talking, hee hee.

1 mom found this helpful

do you really have to get a loan to build a fence? I mean, a home equity loan is essentially a 2nd mortgage. Not to jump on a soapbox, but you'll save money in the long run if you can save for several month to pay for the fence in cash. Than again, I'm all about being debt free. Anyway, probably not totally helpful, but I thought I'd toss the idea out there.

1 mom found this helpful

Hi C.,
From watching the professionals do it on HGTV, I've learned the most important thing for you to do is get rid of the clutter, wash windows...basically staging your home but by doing it yourself. I hope this helps.

Best Wishes,

We just recently had the same thing done in order to get a home equity loan. In all honesty, short of adding a room or another porch or changing your heating system etc.., there's not much that will make a difference. When it comes to an appraiser looking at the value of your home for an improvement project, they are going to look at the very most basic things....square footage, roof, heat, crawl space, decks, gas vs. electric, etc...in other words, don't get yourself all worked up over it. It would be different if you were getting it appraised for resale, because then they look at each and every tiny detail. Don't worry. I'm sure it'll come through for you great!

Yeah, home appraisers don't look at how you've decorated. You may want your kitchen to be mostly cleaned up so he can see the type of counters and cabinets, sink, appliances, etc. They'll look at flooring and improvements you've made. They are taking a guess as to how much you can sell your house for, and those are the things that make a difference.
My appraisers hardly even came in the house. They measured outside for square footage and lot size, then came in and asked me about the flooring and counters. That was it!
Good luck!

Sorry to to tell you there really isn't anything especially that you can do. Appraisers look at the market value of the home upgrades like new electrical, hot water heater, lighting etc. Then they look at the basics of the home. That is why there are things called drive by appraisels they technically don't even have to go inside the house. So unless you are planning some major upgrades like adding a bathroom it is not going to adjust it.

May I add one more piece of advice? Have you looked into saving up for it? Break the price down into a day. For example if the fence costs $5,000 you could save up for it by saving $13 a day. Do you go out to eat, buy soda or snacks, Look at your budget and see what items you could sacrafice. what else could you do to make a few extra dollars. Just be careful on getting loans on your home because if something happens it is the home that goes away.

Hi C.. I am a Residential Planner and also just went through this same situation. The most important thing is to clean. Remove excess clutter from both inside and outside the house. Also put together a list of any upgrades you have made, this way you don't forget to mention anything and it eases the appraisors work load. Also take a look around your house and see if there are any furnishings or decorations that need rearranging. Remove any extra appliances from the counters and really wipe them down. They will be taking pictures so take some yourself, look at them and see what needs a quick fix. One last thing make sure both the front and back yard are mowed and clutter free, they take pictures of this as well. We did all of the above steps and ended up appraising 40K more than the bank thought we would. Good luck and if you need any further assistance please contact me at ____@____.com

If the fence is the only thing that you are needing then I am with Deb on not upping your house payment. We just put in a fence ourselves. It cost us $600 compared to the thousands that a professional wanted. It was approximately 80 feet of fencing. You can buy the pre-made 6x8 foot sections but they were special oder and we couldn't wait any longer, not to mention that we had some existing fence posts that we were trying to use. We had to put in 5 fence posts on our own. We are NOT handy but we did it and it is really secure and looks great. There was a lot of math involved...I think that was the hard part, how much of what to get. We went to Home Depot and we even rented a truck for $20 to get everything there at once. It can be done!!!! Let me know if you want any fence building advice since we just went though this! Good luck!!!

Hi, as someone who had an apprasial recently, and as someone in the industry, I can tell you that there isn't toooo much you can do. Clearly your biggest area of opportunity would be to clean the house, get some fresh air in there, and clean up the yard. Appraisers look at things like floor condition, yard and landscaping, fireplace style, counters and permanant fixtures,trim, appliances, etc. Basically, anything that could add value to the home. A good idea is to make pleasant conversation with the person conducting the appraisal so that they may ask questions about the condition of the home and why you think the value might be higher than what they percieve. Some (but not a whole lot) of the process is subjective, dispite regulations. They will also "pull comps" or look at what similar sized homes in your immediate area have sold for, something you clearly can't influence.

Best to you,

Hi C.,

I just had my house appraised a couple of months ago and unfortunately, there is little you can do for an appraiser. They have a list of things that they go off of an they price it by the quantity. So to start with, they take the square footage and depending on your neighborhood, they multiply it by X amount of dollars then if you have anything that is considered non standard (2 x 6 construction, granite counters, tile floors, hardwood floors, etc.) If you were selling your home there are a lot of little things you could do, but an appraiser doesn't even care that the children's toys are scattered everywhere.

I don't really know exactly what the appraiser looks at and stuff but I know that when we bought our home, it helped a great deal to see how clean it was. Even the closets were straight and clean.

from my experience, it really doesn't matter what you do to make your house look nicer or more presentable. They just come out to measure and then compare it to what other houses are selling for in the area and go by that. Right now the appraisals are coming back very low so be prepared. People are selling their houses for less money just to get out from under them and that is causing the housing values to depreciate.

We had our home appraised earlier this year and with a
household full of males, needless to say, it wasn't in tip top shape. But our appraiser insisted that he doesn't look at the
mess in the house. His job is to look only at the structure
of the building. Just make it easier for him to measure out the rooms. Our guy, had to step over loads of laundry that my college kids brought back the day the appraiser came. This was
unbeknownst to me as I was at work and had just arrived home
literally a min. before the appraiser arrived. Good Luck!

Paint, any little repairs, the yard. stuff like that good luck

The appraisal will be based on what the other homes in your immediate are selling for ( price per square foot) and the size of your home.Also condition. I know you did not ask for advice on this but why borrow money against your home for a fence? We replaced our windows ourselves and paid for it as went. A fence can't be that expensive, why drag it out over thirty years plus interest. I know it is for your home but borrowing more money is just not a good idea. Also that appraisal is going to cost you too! So add up what you will really be spending on this fence( including the fees and interest), it will be a huge amount! Why do you think so many are in trouble and losing their houses? It's not just the arm's but people continually borrowing against their homes, and that interest write off is not that great, don't let some banker tell you it is!

For the most part, just make sure your house is tidy and clean. The appraiser is really only supposed to look at the square footage, number of bedrooms, number of bathrooms and level of upgrades within the house. The majority of his data will come from homes around yours that have sold recently...from there he is simply determining if your home is better or worse than those that sold. So if it's clean and tidy, you'll have a good first impression so that he can find those upgrades. Hope that helps. Good Luck. If the loan doesn't work out, let me know and I can make some other suggestions on how to get a fence in...such as going to your city. Englewood has a program in place to help with home improvements.

Clean the house spotless and store any clutter away to make the house look spacious. Burn a candle in the house to make it smell good or take away any bad smells (dirty diapers) Present your house like a show case.
C. B

As a mtge lender, I have seen HUNDREDS ofappraisals and worked with a vide variety of appraisers over the years. Here is what I tell my clients. There are no perfect comparables, so appraisers will find 3-6 homes that are similar, then they make adjustments either up or down to come up with an final value. There are several catagories, some you have no control over, such as square footage, lot size, number of rooms ect. What you do have control over is condition. The appraiser will mark both the condition of the inside of your house, as well as the outside. With that being said:
1. Clean your house. If your home is a mess and looks run-down he may only mark it as average. Then if he has a comparable house that is clean and tidy, and is marked as excellent he may deduct from your starting value to adjust to match the comparable.
2. Mow your yard, pick up toys, trim bushes.

I read in a response below, that your apprasial will magically come back where the bank wants it. This is not true. In the last several years new state and federal regulations have made it illegail for your banker to contact the appraiser. The banks now use a separate 3rd party to contract the appraisers. This being said, there are some appraisers out there with personal agendas, and if they feel you are using a lending institution they don't like, they will low-ball your appraisal. They are just as gunshy with the market as it is, as many lenders. So, when your appraiser comes out to your house, if he starts asking lots of questions about your loan, such as term, rate, amount, what is is for ect... redirect him to the task at hand. You may polietly tell him that you do not feel comfortable discussing such issues with him.
Remember...the appraiser is working for you. You are paying his paycheck. Do not let him come in and take a quick glance around and leave. Take him through your house and show him the features, and upgrades that you have. By the time the appraiser has come to your house, he has already done all his leg work at the county, double check with him that he has the correct information. I've seen where the county showed the home did not have a heat source, and although the appraiser went into the home (in january in MT) he still went off his info from the county, and not from his walk-through. So just double check that he has documented the correct number of rooms, heat source, siding type, roof type, that sort of thing. Make sure he measures...some appraisers don't and just use the county info, but like I said that is not always accurate. Also, have prepared a list of improvements that you have done and give this to him. Also, if you know of sales in your neighborhood, have these prepared and ready for him.
If you don't feel that you can be prepared for this by tomorrow, call and reschedule for the next day or the day after. It is better to be prepared, than have him come out and waste $400-500. There are some really great appraisers out there, but just like any other business there are some that are not so great. By being an informed consumer, you can make the most of your exprience. Also, call your lender and discuss with them what they suggest. Although they cannot talk to the appraiser, they probably have worked with and know the appraisers from the past, and can probably give you pointers as to what particular appraisers are like and what they seem to focus on. Good luck! And if things don't work out for the Home Equity loan, talk to your lender, there may be other options. During this credit crunch, things are tight, so be patient.


Keep your home free of clutter for one thing.
Make sure that dripping faucets aren't doing water damage anywhere.
The roof is in great shape.
Your home is energy efficient.
No cracks in the ceilings, if so fix them with some caulking for now.
No cracks in the foundation, if you have a basement, that it is free of any leaks and cracks.

That's all I can think of.
They are mainly concerned with how good the house is with standing the wars of time. LOL
Good luck!

As an inactive apprasier, I can tell you that Deb's advice is good. It is much easier to inspect a clean house and it does give the appraiser a better feeling about the house, but that is not all that important. Make sure every room is accessible and you can even make a list of all the improvements that you have done to be sure that the appraiser sees them all. Clearing the clutter and making the house look better is nice, but they will be measuring the square footage, so a spacious appearance will not change the facts.

Looking around for recent sales in your neighborhood to mention to the appraiser will ensure that they see all of them, but remember they may not all be actually comparable once they are researched, so do not be upsest if the appraiser does not use what you found.

Also having whatever house paperwork that you might have available will be helpful too. Things like the the plot outline, neighborhood amenities and any easements you might have, basically the file you put together when you bought the house. This is not required, but the appraiser would be great to have it, especially if you have a rural home with some land.

As Deb said a fence will probably not do much for the increasing the home's market value, but it might increase its buyer appeal if you are wanting to sell it. I would ask the appraiser for suggestions on what would increase the value for your specific neighborhood because different areas value things differently.

Good Luck on your financing

I ditto most everyone else so far. Appraisers don't care about the simple things you can do. And I assume since you're getting a loan for the fence, you don't probably have the funds to do something that would really matter. I would also ditto the saving up for it part. You are going to pay so much more for the fence by financing it through your home equity rather than paying outright, or even getting a personal loan for it. Seriously consider waiting until you can have all, most or even part of the money up front for it. And definitely know exactly what attachments come with doing it through your home instead of separately. Like someone else said, if something happens, it's the home that goes away, not just the fence. Good luck with it, though. A fenced yard is sure nice...

An appraisal of your home does not include the way you have it furnished. However make sure you clean up and make it easy for the person to maneuver through your home. If you have any 'special' things such as radiant heat, low e windows, things the appraiser may not notice make sure you point it out. Given the current market it is very possible the appraiser will come in on the low side. Personal opinion I don't know that getting a loan for a fence is worth the expense you could be charged for the loan add in the interest and you are paying a lot for a fence. Is it possible that you could some how put this off until you have the cash, or use a low interest credit card. Home Depot is offering no interest no payments for 6 months. Best of luck!

Since they are coming very soon. I would make sure your lawn is mowed and your bushes are trimmed back. With such sort time there is not much you can do. If you had more time, I would suggest a new coat of paint. If possible even on the outside. And just pick up clutter.

Honestly, if the appraiser is coming TOMORROW, it's too late to do anything to really make a difference. If you had time, I'd say a fresh coat of paint, declutter, basic home maintenance, etc. At this point all you can do is clean your house and make sure your yard is manicured. Frankly, what appraisers do is relative to what you need. For example, we had our house appraised so we could extend the equity on our house and cash out. We told the bank what we thought our house was worth or what we needed, and the appraiser magically came up with that number. On the flip side, we just bought a house --- it was listed higher but had been on the market a long time. We took advantage of the market situation and low-balled them. They accepted it. Even though the house was worth more, the appraiser appraised the house for what we offered --- in favor of the seller. Perhaps that's why the housing market is so screwed up. Appraisers don't appraise your house for what it's really worth. They appraise it to keep the banks in business. I predict you'll get whatever you need. So, don't sweat it. However, you don't want the appraiser to inflate what your house is worth because you could get upside down with your loan. I'm not an expert. It's just my opinion based on our my experience with buying & selling homes. And I don't mean to offend any appraisers out there. Good luck.

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