home appraisal -  man with a clipboard in a kitchen.Whether you’re selling your home or refinancing your mortgage, the home appraisal is an important requirement to clear. A strong appraisal allows you to proceed toward your goal, but a low appraisal could kill a sale or upend your refinancing. Thankfully, there are steps you can take to help ensure you have the best opportunity to receive the appraisal you’re looking for. Here’s how to plan and prepare.

Consult an appraiser before making renovations

If you’re considering making renovations to your home, before selling or refinancing, it may be worthwhile to consult an appraiser. The appraiser will be able to give you some professional advice to estimate what the return on investment will be for your proposed work.

Tidy up and make repairs

The general appearance of your home can impact the appraiser’s evaluation, so it’s wise to make sure that everything looks good inside and out. Clean the interior, spruce up the landscaping, ensure your home systems are in working order and make any necessary small repairs.

Make the appraiser comfortable

When the appraiser visits, make yourself available to answer questions and be friendly but not overbearing. Hovering over the appraiser while they work can make them feel pressured. Ensure your home’s temperature is comfortable, all areas of the home are accessible and pets are caged or leashed.

Provide supporting documentation

Documents that support a strong value for your home are an important asset. If possible, provide the appraiser with a survey that shows the boundaries of the property and offer a list of upgrades that have been made to the home along with their costs. Recent neighborhood improvements such as new roads, schools, parks, shopping or other amenities may also be worth noting.

Review the appraisal report

As an existing homeowner or new homebuyer, your lender is required to provide a copy of the appraisal at no cost to you. Carefully review the report for accuracy, especially when it comes to important details such as square footage and the number of bedrooms and baths. Contact your lender with any concerns that negatively affect the value.

Much of the appraisal process is out of your control, but by taking these steps, you can give yourself the best chance for the strong appraisal you need to proceed with your home sale or mortgage refinance.