Do I need to keep my house decorated for an appraisal?

Asked by Bella, Attleboro, MA Wed Mar 17, 2010

I sold my house and the appraisal is soon. I want to start packing, but want my house to look nice in case it helps me hit my appraisal number. I presently have it all staged and looking good. what do you think? does it matter or not?

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Bella’s answer
Bella, Home Seller, Attleboro, MA
Wed Mar 17, 2010
ok, when I say "sold" I mean signed P&S, inspection done, now it's appraisal time. To answer Robin, my house is not a pig, nor am I putting lipstick on it to make it look new or to hide anything (little cynical ya think?). I have a nice house, and maybe Neil HAS looked at as many appraisal as you have. Thank you Neil for your answer and all the other people who answered in a supportive, kind way and not scarcastic, Debbie Downer. I intend on keeping my "Pig" clean and staged till after the appraisal. thank you
1 vote
Neil Patel, , Dallas, TX
Wed Mar 17, 2010
Robin,

I have seen all to often when appraisers are affected by the general aesthetics of a home when determining the market value. There are strong statistics that display the fact that homes that are staged or properly furnished sell for higher price. I agree that it should NOT make a difference when it comes to appraisals, but the fact is that it can sway a value of a home, even if it is by a small amount.
1 vote
Jason Stevens, , Englewood, FL
Wed Mar 17, 2010
Very good question. My opinion is to keep the house staged not for the appraisal per se but until you know for sure the deal is closing. You said that you "sold" your house and the appraisal is soon. Then you technically haven't sold the house yet its currently under contract. Let me remind you that until you and the buyers sign all of the closing package paperwork and you are issued a check from the closing company, the house is not sold. There are too many variables that could wrong between now and closing that could delay or even kill the deal and if you already have packed it up and need to put the house back on the market I'm, sure you don't want to do it all over again. Quite honestly having the house staged and looking nice might help the overall appearance of the house but will add little value to the actual appraisal number. Sold comparable properties will do that. But again I say keep the house looking as nice as you can until you know for sure its closing. That's not to say you can't start packing some things, however. Good luck with the sale.

Jason Stevens. GRI,ABR
Kevin Flynn Realty, Inc.
Email: jasonstevens@embarqmail.com
1 vote
Dianne Hicks, Agent, Rancho Bernardo, CA
Sun Mar 21, 2010
Bella
I would because it can't hurt you to keep in the same condition. It is possible it will not present as well and what you think shouldn't effect you.... could!!! Just my opinion.

Good Luck!!!
Web Reference:  http://www.di4homes.com
0 votes
Mack McCoy, Agent, Seattle, WA
Sun Mar 21, 2010
I think that you keep your house decorated as if you were presenting it to potential buyers.

It is, in my opinion, a tremendous leap of faith to think that a typical appraiser is somehow inured to aesthetics, that they're "just about the data."

If you want to avoid unpacking in this home, you'll keep the decorating up.
0 votes
Janet and Er…, Agent, North Attleboro, MA
Sun Mar 21, 2010
Hi Bella,

The appraisers in this area breeze in and out of the house within minutes (doing their job). They're looking at floors, walls and room sizes. They snap some quick photos of the inside of the house and then go outside and measure everything. They are not looking at your decorating. They are looking at the utilities and bones of the home. Start packing is our opinion. I've never heard of an appraiser here having a problem with things being packed up.
0 votes
, ,
Wed Mar 17, 2010
Bella, I was not saying that alluding to the fact that your house was not neat, just that an appraiser can see past decorating. Most agents that I know have not seen an actual appraisal until I give them a seminar on appraisals. As loan officers, most of us look at every appraisal that comes in. THere are certain things that make a big difference to a buyer, but make no difference to an appraiser. I am sure that your house sold faster because it was staged. I agree totally that a nicely decorated house has a much better chance of selling quickly. I even have pet peeves about people who don't make sure that the fingerprints are wiped off the walls, or have kitchen cabinets that don't close properly. Because I have done a fair share of brokers open houses, and have helped realtors out at open houses, I have seen all kinds of things. One person even had a bag of garbage on the kitchen floor during an open house. You have clearly taken a lot of time to make sure your house looks as good as it can.
Neil, I recently had an appraisal come in short. I took a look at the comps that the appraiser used, and realized that he gave the exact same square footage to this one as to 2 other houses in the neighborhood. This one had an extension added to the kitchen, so I realized that it was quite unlikely that the other homes had the same addition. When we brought that to the attention of the appraiser, he adjusted accordingly and brought it in at value. He could make ocmments about the custom kitchen, but a new kitchen from Home Depot doesn't appraise out any different than a custom kitchen, assuming they both have granite countertops.
0 votes
Dallas Texas, Agent, Dallas, TN
Wed Mar 17, 2010
I would pack as much as possible closets and etc, neatly store in garage than a mess. Keep your home stage with home furnishings till after all the process is complete.

Keep in mind lender can at very end determine not do approve the buyer, it happens more times you can imagine.

Lynn911
Web Reference:  http://www.lynn911.com
0 votes
, ,
Wed Mar 17, 2010
Neil, I totally disagree with you. Yes, it is an opinion, but unless you have looked at as many appraisals as I have, you would realize that an appraiser would quickly know if you were decorating to try to make it look like new or not. You know what they say, you can put lipstick on a pig, but its still a pig.
0 votes
Dennis Doll, Agent, Buford, GA
Wed Mar 17, 2010
Even though the appraisal is for the property, the feel and condition affects anyone who enters. So the answer is YES!
Web Reference:  http://www.dennisdoll.com
0 votes
Skolnick Rea…, Agent, Rancho Cucamonga, CA
Wed Mar 17, 2010
Well if no you do not need to have all sorts of furniture or decorations up for the appraisal. The reason for the appraisal is to determine your homes actual market value, they want to see the land, the neighborhood, anything added to your home, and furniture or decorations will not add to your homes value, so if you'd like you can pack up, Good luck.
Web Reference:  http://www.SkolnickHomes.com
0 votes
Neil Patel, , Dallas, TX
Wed Mar 17, 2010
If your house looks like model material when it is furnished, I would leave it furnished. If your house is overly cluttered or makes the rooms look smaller, I would remove some or all of the furnishings. Appraisals are opinions on value, and your furnishings and set up can make a great impact on the appraised value. Especially on terms of overall condition, and leaving a "good taste" in the appraiser's senses. Maybe you can have someone that is good at decorating come and help you spruce up your current furnishings or edit what you currently have.
0 votes
, ,
Wed Mar 17, 2010
It doesn't matter at all. They don't make adjustments for housekeeping on an appraisal. it's room size, number of bathrooms, fireplaces, finished basement, garage, thermopane windows, air conditioning, how updated it is, (even updated vs. new), deck or patio, inground pool. Those are the kinds of things that are adjusted for on an appraisal.
0 votes
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