To get ready for guests in your home, you clean thoroughly and have everything nice and neat. For potential buyers you do the same —...

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To get ready for guests in your home, you clean thoroughly and have everything nice and neat.

For potential buyers you do the same — perhaps more so — but you also do extra things like clearing the countertops, touching up paint and making sure the landscape is presentable.

But what do you do if you are refinancing and an appraiser comes to your home? Do you do all of the above? Perhaps, but you may want to do a few more things, as well.

Learn about equity: If you’re applying for a refinance of your home, the finance company or bank will want to know if you have enough equity in your home to cover their loss if you fail to pay the mortgage and they have to assume title.

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Study the neighborhood: An appraiser will look at “comps” in your area, what comparable homes are selling for so he or she has an idea of what yours might be worth on the market. It’s no use saying: “Nothing around here has sold for less than $XXX.” The appraiser will have to research those numbers personally.

Let appraisers do their job: One of the biggest things I thought I could help the appraiser with is the measurements of my home and a scale drawing of the rooms. I still have my original set of blueprints from when the house was built. Mine is a custom home and not everybody will have blueprints for their home, but any kind of floor plan may help.

So, when the appraiser came to the door, before he even set foot inside, he said he would first measure the house from the outside. I told him I had the blueprints but he said he needed to measure anyway. Probably a good idea from an appraiser’s standpoint. After all, someone could fudge a set of blueprints.

Be organized: If you belong to a homeowners association, chances are you may be asked to show a recent statement. So have those statements on hand.

Be realistic: Don’t expect the appraisal to match what you think the home is worth on the market.

Most homeowners tend to have an inflated view of their home’s value, particularly in a market such as the one we have now where values have climbed.

On second thought, don’t negate the value of a clean and orderly home. Sometimes that’s worth a lot, too.

— Nick Harder,

Orange County Register