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How to Handle a Home Appraisal

An appraisal is necessary to ensure the home’s value matches its assumed value. Lenders require an appraisal in order to finance the property. After you agree to a contract with the buyer, the sales contract is forwarded to the lender, who will order a property appraisal. 

An appraiser (by the buyer) will physically visit your property and research information about other similar houses in the area. The appraiser will likely use a comparative sales approach, meaning that he compares your house to others that have sold and adjusts for differences between them. A lender wants to ensure that not only is the house sold at a reasonable price but that is a property meeting their guidelines. While an inspection evaluates the physical condition of the property, an appraisal helps establish the current market value.

Remember though, appraising is not a science. It’s more of an art and it has flexibility. So, in order for you to get a favorable appraisal, follow some of these tips:

  1. Give the appraiser a list of upgrades you have recently made to the property. The appraiser may not know you have a new roof or that you upgraded the kitchen last month. the easier you make their job, the more likely they are to give you a favorable value.
  2. Pull a list of comparable properties in your area and hand it to the appraiser. The appraiser will likely use their own comparable but again it doesn’t hurt to make their job easier.


An appraisal can seems like something beyond your control, but the reality is that an appraiser is just a person doing a job that you can nudge your way. An appraiser’s “opinion of value” is just that.. an opinion. Appraisers don’t determine the value of a property, they just provide a data point for the buyer’s lender. Follow the advice above to give you the best shot at a favorable outcome from the appraisal.

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