Improving your appraisal

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When selling or refinancing a home, problems often arise during the appraisal process. If the appraised value is lower than it should be, it will seriously effect your bottom line and it could kill the deal entirely.

Appraisals are often based upon recent sales prices of comparable homes in your area, and most appraisers are in your home for only a few minutes. The best thing a homeowner can do to get the highest appraisal possible is to make sure that you’re well prepared before the appraiser walks in the door.

Be sure the appraiser knows the neighborhood. This should be the first question you ask. If the appraiser doesn’t know the area, chances are the appraisal won’t reflect your property’s true value.

Be ready with your own list of at least three comparable properties for the appraiser. This will ensure that they are getting information from homes that really are similar to yours. Websites like or offer valuable information like recent sales prices and details such as the number of rooms and images of the properties.

If you have put money into the home, be ready to prove it to the appraiser. Have receipts along with before-and-after images available. Those along with a spreadsheet of repairs and renovations should persuade an appraiser to turn in a number that exceeds what they might have assumed.

Any appraiser will appreciate a clean property. Trimmed shrubbery and a few flowers in the yard along with some touchup paint can go a long way. The same goes for indoors. Get rid of all the clutter in your home. It will actually make the home appear large than it actually is.

Talk about your area with the appraiser. If you know about new exciting developments coming such as restaurants let them know, but also give them their space. Don’t follow the appraiser around. Many appraisers will see this as a red flag and think something is wrong with your home.

Remember the appraisal is the key to securing your loan or, on the seller’s side, completing the sales transaction.

Make sure your home is ready and don’t forget to do your homework beforehand!

To contact me, call 847-292-4700, email or visit

About Giuseppe Zerillo

Giuseppe Zerillo is the managing broker and owner of Zerillo Realty Inc. He is active on many boards, serving as village trustee of Harwood Heights and corporate secretary for Casa Italia. In 2011, he received the IANU Foundation's 2011 David Award for outstanding promise in the field of real estate, and in 2012 he was honored by the Illinois State Crime Commission for his community outreach. Constantly seeking opportunities to give back, he donates to several charities and raises money for children with disabilities.

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