Are you planning on listing your home this Spring? If so, you should do two things: hire a Realtor, and get a Pre-Listing Appraisal.
More and more, I am doing appraisals for individuals selling their home on their own. While some have done this with much success, it can be an extremely costly (in time and money) mistake for most. Selling your home is a time-consuming thing! When you sell by owner, you can end up spending all your time advertising, showing your home, negotiating with your buyer, chasing them around town getting signatures, calling, emailing, scheduling…the list goes on! Not only that, you can leave a lot of money on the table. Most of the time, when people think about pricing a home incorrectly, they automatically assume the house was priced too high. However, I’ve done many appraisals recently where the seller – who didn’t hire a Realtor or an appraiser – lost out on thousands. In one instance, the seller undersold their home for $16,000!
Hiring a Realtor can take the headache out of selling your home. A Realtor can also help in pricing your home correctly. The best way a Realtor can be your advocate is to hire someone who isn’t. That’s right – an appraiser cannot be an advocate for any party, and therein lies our greatest strength. In any transaction, there may be more than one party who has knowledge of real estate valuation. But when it comes to valuation of a specific property, there will always be only one person who is completely unbiased and independent.
The seller wants to make as much as they can on the sale of their home. The purchaser wants to buy the home for as little as possible. The Realtors will get a commission if the sale closes. The bank makes money off the loan, and sometimes the loan officer makes a commission, as well. The appraiser, however, is not motivated by the closing of the property. Regardless if the property closes, the appraiser collects their fee, and it cannot be contingent upon the property selling for any particular price.
This independence, coupled with our unique knowledge of the local real estate market, is where the true value of an appraiser comes in, and why you should hire an appraiser before you list your home for sale. An appraiser can give you a completely unbiased, professional opinion of value of your home, without any financial incentive. The appraiser’s report can assist your Realtor in determining the best course of action to get your home sold for the most money, in the shortest amount of time possible.
While the unbiased nature of an appraiser is the strongest reason for hiring an appraiser, there are other benefits as well. An appraisal can be a useful negotiating tool when you have a potential buyer; it can be used in advertising efforts; it can help in making you aware of potential problems that might occur during the process (i.e. FHA deficiencies, repairs, etc), and it might even show you some ideas as to how to quickly increase the market value of your home before you list.
Your home is likely your largest investment. Protect your investment by hiring an appraiser to provide you with an unbiased, professional opinion of value, and then hire a Realtor to help you get your home sold.