Do you know how much your home is worth? We’re not talking about what you paid for your home – that value has probably changed. Home improvements, a new neighborhood school, and even your landscaping can affect your home’s value.
Getting your home reappraised is the only way to know what your home is currently worth. Of course, this information is only useful for certain situations. A good rule of thumb is to get your home reappraised when you’re considering making a major life change that involves your home.
Let’s take a look at the financial, home-related, and external reasons to get your home reappraised.
Financial Reasons for a Home Reappraisal
Sometimes a reappraisal makes sense when you’re about to make a big financial decision. For example, you might get your home reappraised when:
- You want to sell your home. A home reappraisal can help you determine the listing price. During the appraisal process, your home is typically compared to homes in your neighborhood with comparable square footage, bathrooms, and other structures, like fencing and sheds. The appraiser then adds or subtracts value depending on additions or faults that don’t appear in comparable homes. Install new piping? Great! Is your home missing an extra closet or two? That may take away from its overall value.
- You want to refinance or get a home equity loan. If you want to refinance your mortgage, your lender will likely require a home reappraisal. Home equity loans are also based on the value of your home. If you’ve made improvements to your home that add to its value, that can help you out when you refinance your mortgage, for example, if you have an FHA loan and you’re still paying mortgage insurance. Once you have home equity of 20 percent, the lender will often drop the mortgage insurance requirement, which saves you money each month.
- You want to take out another type of loan. When it comes to some loan application processes, such as for business or car loans, you may need to put up your home as collateral. In these cases, the lender may require you to get your home reappraised to understand its current value. You’d show the appraisal documentation to the lender to move forward.
Updates to the home can increase its value. That includes:
- In-home repairs. These may include removing chipped paint, fixing loose floorboards, and updating old fixtures. Many of these are simple DIY projects you can tackle over a weekend. Keep in mind that appraisers also check installed home devices during inspection, so test your carbon monoxide, home security, and smoke alarms, too.
- Large home Improvement and renovation projects. Appraisers typically value homes in $500 increments. If you’re considering a repair that will cost more than this amount, consider getting your home appraised afterward. For example, large outdoor projects like new landscaping or a new walkway may impact the home’s value, as well as indoor projects like new tiles, new carpet, or windows.
G. Stacy Sirmans, real estate professor at Florida State University, recommends that homeowners start with minor improvements to the bathroom and kitchen. He also says that wood flooring, landscaping, and an enclosed garage can drive up appraisal values.
It also helps to document the improvements with before and after photos. You can show these to your home appraiser to help them make a more accurate estimation of the value these renovations created.
External Factors for a Home Reappraisal
These factors that are outside your control can impact the value of your home:
- Changes in the neighborhood. If your neighbors update their houses to add curb appeal, people may pay more to live there.
- Road upgrades. Updated infrastructure can make a location more appealing to future homebuyers.
- New schools. Young families may be attracted to areas with nearby schools.
- New local amenities. The opening of nearby parks, stores, and community centers can make your area more attractive on the housing market.
Finding a Home Appraiser
Don’t be afraid to do your own research to get a better feel of your neighborhood’s value. Talk to your neighbors about their own home appraisals and what factors the appraiser noted. Home appraisals are often on public record, too.
Ideally, your home appraiser should live within a 10-mile radius of your home so they are familiar with the area. If they aren’t, don’t be afraid to explain to your home appraiser the selling points of your neighborhood. This may help prevent your home from being undervalued.
Will a Reappraisal Increase Your Home Insurance Premium?
A reappraisal will tell you the value of your home, but that isn’t what the cost of your dwelling insurance is based on. Home insurance companies consider the replacement cost of your home when offering and pricing your coverage. The replacement cost is how much it would be to rebuild your home with similar, new materials. This figure doesn’t take into account the intangibles that make your home appealing to, say, potential homebuyers (such as a good school district or local amenities).
So regardless of whether your home increases or decreases in value, your reappraisal typically won’t impact your home insurance premiums. However, if your home increases in value because you remodeled the kitchen with top-of-the-line appliances, you should give your home insurance company a call. You want to make sure your personal property coverage is still appropriate if you ever need to repair or replace those shiny new items.