Financing in Haverhill>Question Details

Tinker, Other/Just Looking in Haverhill, MA

How can they do an accurate appraisal for refiancing in the winter with all the snow on the ground? They can not take any pictures of your property?

Asked by Tinker, Haverhill, MA Wed Jan 19, 2011

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I worked as a former appraiser for many years. Even some of the most gorgeous lots of land rarely were given consideration. Overall lot size and location is more important than landscaping. It is very hard to show to an underwriter reviewing an appraisal that one home with nice landscaping is worth more than a similar home with say, all grass, since it is a matter of preference. One buyer may prefer the grass, another may prefer the landscape. The main adjustments relate to overall living area, location, lot size, and condition. Bath count, central air, garage spaces and finished basements also warrant adjustments in appraisals.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Jan 27, 2011
Hi Tinker,
I won't reiterate what the other professionals have said. What I will recommend is to get another appraisal if you aren't satisfied with what you got. I've two friends in the past 3 months that got appraisals that were $5,000 less than what they "needed" it to be. In both circumstances the followup appraisal worked for them. If your appraisal is off by a lot, I don't think the landscaping would make up the difference anyway, but if you are close to where you need to be, try another company. Email me if you want me to get the mortgage company name.
Best of luck! Hopefully it all works out.
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0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Jan 19, 2011
Hi Tinker,

You are correct to have concerns about an appraisal being done in the winter but not necessarily because of the yard issue. Often times appraisers aren't able to access sold comps as easily if ice and snow are a factor as they would be today.

The fact is that many pieces go into the appraisal process the most important being the comparable sales.

If you have spring/summer/fall photos that don't contain snow and your yard is unusually valuable provide them to the appraiser.

If you review the appraisal and feel as though there isn't enough supporting data meaning photos of the sold comps aren't included then contact the appraiser and voice your feelings.

After reviewing many appraisals I can tell you confidently that the yard isn't the most important piece.Size, location,amenity,condition,age and any defects hold more weight than the quality of yard.

Best of luck!
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0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Jan 19, 2011
Good point, but really an apprasial is just a statement of opinion. In fact, if you ordered 10 from 10 different appraisers you could end up with several, if not 10 different amounts. However, they should be around the same ballpark because they compare to other comparable SOLD properties and have guidelines for the comparson, like within +/-200 sq ft, same subdivision, same number of stories and etc. If there are no other comparables then they +/- for the property, adding for Mt Views for example or a pool. When things were booming, some apprasiers seemingly drove by the property, and had a number. Things have changed in the past couple of years, short sales, foreclosures have had a huge impact on apprasials and lenders no longer get to "use their person", or pick the apprasier. So, in the end, even if your house is covered in snow, they should be able to come up with an appraisal.
Good luck.
Spirit Messingham
Tierra Antigua Realty
Tucson, AZ
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Jan 19, 2011
Yes you can. Appraisers determine value by the comps in the area. Size location, lot size etc. Snow or grass dies not effect the process.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Jan 19, 2011
An appraisal takes in many many factors. The main factors are square footage, number of rooms, number of bedrooms, baths etc. Then they run those against properties in the area that have sold, of similiar size and square footage. There are some items that play only a minor role in an appraised value. Landscaping is one of them. Unless your property has lavish, unusual, and extensive landscaping, it has little effect on price. However, I do not want to minimize the importance of a home landscaping. That becomes very important when you list the home for sale. Curb appeal is key, very important. The house needs to shine from the outside in.
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0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Jan 19, 2011
The apparaisal, is based on the comps in the immediate area ( Recent Sale Prices), home sq ftg ,age, etc. The exterior condition of the home and lot size do come in to play and shoud be easy enough to determine.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Jan 19, 2011
An appraiser is looking at your house, walking around, taking measurements, and writing down notes about the conditions, size, finishes, etc, since the majority of your value is most likely in your house. They will also walk around your house, measure the outside and take photos to document what they saw. It is very common to have appraisals done during the winter.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Jan 19, 2011
Hi Tinker

It's easy they just take pics of the snow they will assume that the ground is ok . It's more about the house .
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Jan 19, 2011
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