Improving your appraisal

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An issue that arises whenever you sell a home or refinancing is the appraisal process. In this process, the lender usually will send out an appraiser to give them an honest and unbiased opinion on the value of the property. When the appraisal comes back at less than the purchase price or the amount owed on a refinance, it can more money to come out of your pocket or kill the deal entirely.

Most appraisers are in the home for only a couple of minutes. The best thing you can do is make sure you have all the important features of your home ready for the appraiser to view.

Appraisals are often based upon recent sales prices of comparable homes within a radius of your property. Make 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 will not come back close to what the property is really worth.

Be ready with your own prices for comparable properties. This will ensure that they are getting information from homes that really are similar to yours. You can always rely on your Realtor for this information, or use external sites such as or, which offers recent sales prices along with details such as the number of rooms and images of the properties.

Talk about your area with the appraiser, and do your best to really sell it. If you know about new exciting developments coming such as restaurants or parks, let them know.

If you have put money into the home, be ready to prove it to the appraiser. Gather receipts along with before-and-after images. These along with a spreadsheet of repairs and renovations may persuade an appraiser to turn in a number that far exceeds what he or she first thought.

Any appraiser will appreciate a good clean property. Tree trimming and a few flowers in the yard along with some touchup paint can go a long way. The same goes for indoors. One nifty trick is to get rid of all the clutter in your home. It will actually make the home appear large than it actually is.

Make sure to have everything on hand and well organized before the appraiser arrives. but also be sure to give them space. In particular, don’t follow the appraiser around. That’s a big red flag that indicates to them that there’s something wrong with your home.

Remember the appraisal is the key to securing a loan completing a sale. Be sure to do your homework, and make sure that your documentation is as ready as your home.

For more, call 847-292-4700, e-mail 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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