Table of Contents

4 min read Jun 01, 2023

Refinance Appraisal Checklist: Preparing Your House For Appraisal

When refinancing your home, an appraisal plays a crucial role in determining its current market value. To ensure a successful appraisal and potentially secure a favorable refinancing deal, it’s essential to prepare your house beforehand.

This checklist provides a comprehensive guide to help you get your home in prime condition for the appraisal. By following these steps and addressing key areas, you can increase the chances of obtaining a higher appraisal value, potentially leading to better refinancing terms.

Why Are Appraisals Important When Refinancing?

Appraisals are essential when refinancing a home for several reasons. Here are a few key reasons why appraisals are important in the refinancing process:

  1. Determining market value: An appraisal provides an unbiased assessment of your home’s current market value. Lenders rely on this valuation to determine how much they are willing to lend you for your refinancing. A higher appraisal value can result in better loan terms and lower interest rates.
  2. Loan-to-value ratio (LTV): Lenders calculate the loan-to-value ratio by dividing the loan amount by the appraised value of the property. This ratio helps determine the level of risk involved for the lender. A lower LTV ratio, achieved through a higher appraisal value, can lead to more favorable loan terms and potentially eliminate the need for private mortgage insurance (PMI).
  3. Equity assessment: Refinancing allows homeowners to tap into their home’s equity. An appraisal helps determine the amount of equity you have accumulated over time. Higher equity can result in more favorable refinancing options, such as cash-out refinancing or access to lower interest rates.
  4. Mortgage approval: Lenders typically require an appraisal to ensure that the loan amount aligns with the property’s value. If the appraisal value falls short, it can lead to loan denials or adjustments to the loan terms.

Overall, appraisals provide an objective assessment of your home’s value, which is crucial for lenders to assess risk and determine loan terms during the refinancing process.

How To Get A High Appraisal For A Refinance

To increase the chances of obtaining a high appraisal value for your home during the refinancing process, consider following these seven steps:

1. Enhance Curb Appeal

First impressions matter. Boost your home’s curb appeal by ensuring the exterior is well-maintained.

Clean the yard, trim bushes, repair any visible damage, and consider a fresh coat of paint if needed. A visually appealing exterior can create a positive impression on the appraiser.

2. Tidy Up The Interior

Cleanliness and organization are important. Declutter your home and make sure each room is well-maintained and presentable.

Remove personal items and excessive furniture to create an open and spacious feel. A clean and inviting interior can influence the appraiser’s perception of your home’s overall condition.

3. Address Repairs and Maintenance

Make necessary repairs before the appraisal. Fix leaky faucets, squeaky doors, and any visible damages.

Replace broken windows, cracked tiles, or damaged flooring. Ensuring your home is in good condition demonstrates its value and can lead to a higher appraisal.

4. Showcase Recent Improvements

Highlight any recent upgrades or renovations you’ve made to your home. Provide documentation, receipts, and permits for major projects like kitchen or bathroom remodels, roof replacements, or energy-efficient upgrades.

Such improvements can positively impact your home’s value and justify a higher appraisal.

5. Compile a List of Comparable Sales

Research recent sales of similar properties in your neighborhood to provide the appraiser with a list of comparable sales, also known as “comps.”

This information can help support your home’s value and justify a higher appraisal. Include details like sale prices, square footage, and any similarities or differences between the properties.

6. Enhance Energy Efficiency

Energy-efficient features can increase your home’s value. Consider installing energy-efficient windows, appliances, insulation, or a programmable thermostat.

Highlight these upgrades to the appraiser, as they can positively impact the appraisal value and demonstrate the long-term cost savings potential.

7. Document Special Features and Upgrades

Compile a comprehensive list of special features or unique upgrades that may add value to your home. This could include things like a fireplace, hardwood floors, custom cabinetry, or a swimming pool.

Provide documentation, receipts, or appraisals for these features to support their value during the appraisal.

Final Thoughts

Remember, while these steps can help increase the chances of a higher appraisal value, the final outcome depends on various factors, including the local real estate market.

Consulting with a professional appraiser or real estate agent can provide further guidance tailored to your specific property and location.


1. How long does an appraisal for a refinance typically take?

The timeframe for completing an appraisal for a refinance can vary depending on factors such as the appraiser's availability and the complexity of the property.

In general, the appraisal process usually takes around one to two weeks from the time the appraisal is ordered to receiving the final appraisal report. However, it's important to note that this timeframe can be longer or shorter based on individual circumstances.

2. Can I be present during the appraisal?

As a homeowner, you have the right to be present during the appraisal. However, it's common practice to allow the appraiser to conduct their assessment independently.

They may have specific guidelines or preferences regarding homeowner involvement. It's recommended to consult with your lender or the appraiser directly to understand their policies and whether they allow homeowners to be present during the appraisal process.

3. What if I disagree with the appraisal value?

If you believe the appraisal value obtained during the refinancing process is inaccurate or doesn't align with your expectations, you may have options to address the situation. Start by reviewing the appraisal report thoroughly to ensure there are no errors or discrepancies.

If you still disagree with the value, you can reach out to your lender and express your concerns. They may offer options to challenge the appraisal, such as obtaining a second appraisal or providing additional documentation to support your case. However, it's important to note that disputing an appraisal value can be a complex process, and outcomes may vary.


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