Home appraisals and property owner expectations

by Buz Wolfe

Last month, I talked about appraisers and appraisals. In this blog, I will touch briefly on the “perception difference” between appraisers and property owners as well as some DO’S and DON’TS when preparing your house for its sale and appraisal.

According to the Pennsylvania Association of Realtors, the average appraisal last month was only 1.15% lower than the expectation of the homeowner – – or, in many cases, the sale price established in the pending sale contract. PAR indicates that this is the fourth consecutive month where the gap between the appraisal and the expectation has decreased.

Home values across the Commonwealth have increased nearly 6% since October of 2015, although the fall and winter market will likely show a miniscule drop in prices. When the market recovers from a downturn and prices begin to rise, it takes some period of time for “comparable sales” to establish themselves so that the appraiser has data to support what may actually be going on in the marketplace.

Many houses require a little bit of work before hitting the market or some additional work will be required after the home inspection or appraisal process. We are frequently asked by our clients which repairs or improvements will actually help them achieve their sales goal or which should be left to the buyer. According to the Council of Residential Specialists (CRS), to which I belong, these are items that the seller should consider fixing:

• Simple and inexpensive fixes such as poorly hanging doors, condensation leaks, broken cabinets, plumbing leaks, landscaping, painting, etc.
• Electrical issues
• Items presenting a clear safety risk or issues such as broken steps, missing handrails or buried or abandoned oil tanks.

Items best left for the buyer to fix include:

• Cosmetic items which might appeal to a specific taste
• Energy enhancements
• Major appliances

Our Associate Brokers and salespersons are experienced and in an excellent position to give you advice about how to prepare your home for the market and how to establish a value consistent with that which is likely to be identified by your appraiser.

Remember, EXPERIENCE MATTERS! Please accept my sincere wishes for a Merry Christmas and I look forward to working with you in 2017.

*Ray L. “Buz” Wolfe, CRS has been Broker/Owner of his own firm since 1986. In 2016, he is again the Carlisle Area’s Top Producing Independent Broker. **All information believed to be accurate but not guaranteed.