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Question about refi appraisal
Old 09-25-2011, 11:47 AM   #1
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Question about refi appraisal

Hi all,

I'm refinancing my 15 year PenFed mortgage to a 10 year PenFed mortgage. In the course of this refinance, it seems they want to have an appraiser actually come to my home to do an appraisal.

Being an average bachelor, my house inside is not the epitome of a Good Housekeeping spread. The exterior isn't fabulous either; my yard could use some sprucing up. There's also a bit of deferred maintenance that needs to be done -- one of the window sashes in the living room won't stay up, for example. Mostly I don't care as long as the house is safe and sound.

I am wondering what kinds of things I should try to remedy in the next week or so before the appraisal. I am not sure how much an appraiser can look past the cosmetic stuff (like my sofas) and see that it's still a 1,8xx sqft 3/2+bonus house in a nice neighborhood.

Thoughts and opinions welcome.


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Old 09-25-2011, 03:11 PM   #2
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My experience with appraisers is that they just want to make sure the house could be resold for somewhat near what they loaned you - i.e. not vacant, gutted, next to a pig farm, etc.

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Old 09-25-2011, 04:16 PM   #3
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I don't think it will make a difference, but all of these would be relatively inexpensive and would provide you with smiles if they haven't been done in a while:

The quickest lawn spruce-up: 10-15 bags of mulch spread out under all of the shrubs and across all of the flower beds. Buy some flowers if you want (lots on sale this time of year), but this would more than double the time spent.

Wash all the windows inside and out. I'm always amazed at how much brighter the house feels after my annual pre-thanksgiving scrub down.

If you don't usually go for a maid, treat yourself to one to give the bathrooms and the kitchen a good scrub. An appraiser may not do more than stand in the doorway of your 3rd bedroom, but he will be looking at every corner in the bath and kitchen.
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Old 09-25-2011, 06:32 PM   #4
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I remember when we refinanced many years ago that there was a "pride of ownership apparent" component in the appraiser's report. But then again the appraiser asked us what we wanted him to appraise it for.

I imagine things are a little different today but as Travelover said, probably just looking to see there is a house there, the dimensions, kind of construction, roof and siding condition. Probably far from the level of a home inspection.
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Old 09-25-2011, 06:45 PM   #5
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Years ago we did a refi about 18 months from our purchase date.
I had a copy of the previous appraisal (a good one) which I handed him at the door.
"Here, maybe this will save some time, you know, with measurements and stuff"--wink, wink.
Resulted in a very quick and favorable appraisal.
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Old 09-26-2011, 12:40 AM   #6
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Earlier this year I did a refi with PenFed.

Young guy came by in his luxury SUV. Hopped out with a clipboard that apparently contained (among other things) the public real estate info from the assessor's office, showing what I paid, official square footage, recent nearby comps...and even had a copy of the original MLS listing from the person that sold me the house from 18 months ago!

He walked through the house in 5 minutes. Snapped a few pictures of both bathrooms and the kitchen - can't recall if he took any pics of the bedrooms.

It seemed to go pretty fast. Like travelover said, mainly looking to verify that it's in one piece and reasonable condition.
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Old 09-26-2011, 05:16 AM   #7
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Appraisers are focused on the construction and dimensions of the property and are supposed to overlook things that may turn be a turn off to a typical buyer. I wouldn't worry about stuff like piled up dirty laundry in the corner unless it's causing mold problems, if you know what I mean...
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Old 09-26-2011, 09:01 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by SecondCor521 View Post
I'm refinancing my 15 year PenFed mortgage to a 10 year PenFed mortgage. In the course of this refinance, it seems they want to have an appraiser actually come to my home to do an appraisal.
I am wondering what kinds of things I should try to remedy in the next week or so before the appraisal.
The appraiser doesn't give a crap about the living conditions-- he just wants to make sure the house has integrity and that the utilities work as advertised. Providing him with a floor plan and perhaps a previous appraisal would be just bonus.

One of the more charming side effects of the real-estate run-up was flipper fraud. Flippers would buy a property and mortgage most of it. Then they'd either take a HELOC for the rest or occasionally do a huge cash-out refi.

At some point the real con artists started "upgrading" the kitchens & bathrooms by putting in attractive-looking tile, granite, appliances, and other features. Then they'd get an appraisal for the new "higher" value and use that for a 125% LTV mortgage or HELOC.

The problem with the "upgrades" was that they were cosmetic-- tile in the bathroom without any functional plumbing behind it, granite in the kitchen without any electricity or plumbing to the sink or appliances, and so forth.

Meanwhile the "flipper" would make no payments on any of the financing, abscond with the cash, and abandon the property. Further research would reveal that they bought the place with a false ID and forged/faked documents... or, for a no-doc loan, no documents at all.

So the appraiser just wants to see a "real" house, not House Beautiful.


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