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    Entries in real estate appraiser (2)


    Don't let tenants derail your home appraisal

    If you're looking to close a refinancing deal in time to take advantage of a low rate, you're probably doing everything you can to take care of the paperwork quickly.

    But if you're the owner of a multi-family home, you may have neglected to pay attention to another factor that can easily slow the completion of a needed appraisal: your tenants. 

    When appraisers complete an appraisal on a multi-family home, they must have full access. If there are rental units inside, an appraiser must be able to enter them at the time of the appraisal.

    This means the home owner must make sure that the tenants will be available to give the appraiser access or that the homeowner must have a key and permission to enter. If the tenants are at work or will not open the door, the appraisal cannot complete the appraisal. Even if the apartments within a multi-family home are seemingly identical, the appraiser must still go inside of each one. He or she can't just fudge it, based on seeing a single unit.

    The upshot: If you own a multi-family home, do some advance planning to make arrangements for tenants to provide access to the apartment at the time of the appraisal. Waiting until the appraiser has arrived at your house to start phoning the tenants is inconsiderate toward the appraiser--what if no one is home?--and it can push back the completion date of your appraisal. If you have problem tenants who are not cooperative about other matters, make sure to build in some extra time for reaching them and communicating about what the appraiser needs to do.

    Your appraiser probably has appointments booked for tomorrow and the next day, so he or she may not be able to come back on your schedule. If you have to wait a few days for a return visit, that may affect whether you are able to lock in a rate on time. 

    Plan ahead and you'll have an edge. 




    Help! I can't afford to stage my house

    You've already read that staging your house can help you sell it. But what if you don't have the money to hire a pro--or redecorate? 

    In my experience, there's still plenty you can do. The number one weapon in your sales arsenal: elbow grease. When a potential buyer comes to view your home, it should be immaculate. If you're marketing your property at the same time as a nearly identical one in town, and your home is significantly cleaner, it will make a much better impression on a buyer--one that can be worth thousands when it comes time to make an offer. That may sound obvious, but so many people ignore this rule of thumb that it's worth repeating.

    It's hard to maintain a spotless home, especially if you have young children and lack cleaning help, but it will generally pay off. If you keep your home within two hours of being spotless at all times, you'll be better able to respond to unexpected showings. Your broker may be able to persuade spur of the moment shoppers to come back in a couple of hours, after you've had a chance to tidy up, but may not be able to get them to come back the next day. Remember, you only need one buyer to make a sale, so don't let the ick factor--whether it's sticky floors, a grimy bathtub, or pet odor--derail your deal.

    You've already heard that decluttering is important. Even if you've done so already, make another sweep of your home with a neutral observer, like your broker, to make sure you've done the best you can on this front. It's easy to stop noticing piles of papers, toys, etc. that you've lived with for a while. Even a small amount of clutter-- or an outsized piece of furniture--can make a room look dramatically smaller to a visitor.

    If the current state of the housing market is making you feel powerless, put that energy to good use: Clean your house or declutter. It'll pay off in the end.