How Buyers and Sellers Can Prepare for an Appraisal

Robert Lattas, who has practiced real estate law in Chicago for more than 10 years, has helped thousands of clients complete successful property transactions. At his firm, the Law Office of Robert D. Lattas, he advises investors, developers, buyers, and sellers on a range of issues, including lending and appraisal matters.

Sometimes an unexpected home appraisal figure can throw a wrench into a sale contract. A few tips can help ensure that both buyers and sellers are prepared for the appraisal stage. First, buyers should make sure that their contract includes a contingency clause that returns the down payment to them if the appraisal value is below the offer amount. From there, the buyer can choose to renegotiate the offer or walk away without penalty.

Sellers should prepare for the appraisal by researching county records. While the county may over- or underestimate the home’s value, appraisers do generally take the county’s assessment into account. Also, sellers should keep in mind that customized upgrades do not always add value to the home. In fact, highly specialized modifications can lower the appraisal value.