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Mich- Bagn

This article suggests replacing outdated countertops, cabinetry and tile to get a higher appraisal, but then most data I've seen suggests homeowners only get 50-70% back on home improvements. So how do appraisers value the improvements? We've added new Anderson windows and doorwall, new furnace and air conditioner, large stained and stamped patio, built-in cabinets, new tile and fireplace mantle, extensive plantings, but our home appraised at less than what we bought it for in 2001 when home prices have gone up since then.

One of the houses used as a comp (behind us) did have a new IKEA kitchen, But they also had and unkempt lawn, no plantings, a broken down hammock and junk toward the back property line (while showing the house). Their realtor said they had several unfinished projects inside. The house was on the market for many months.

I wonder if it really matters what you upgrade, the appraiser seems to want to value the property at the lowest possible comp to cover the banks investment.

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We are refinancing our home after 3 years. We have spent about $20,000 on new roof, backsplash, carpet, appliances, fixtures, water heater, total repainting including changing the woodwork from stained to white. We are about to add new heating and air at the end of the week. I asked the appraiser if we should wait until the heat and air is in and he said it wouldn't matter. Things like a new roof, new heat and air, and water heater are all maintenance items. I don't understand how they aren't increasing our home's value. He basically said the only thing that mattered is the comps around us anyway.

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Why would someone SELLING a home pay for an appraisal? In my experience it's the successful real estate agents who've sold in the neighborhood who have the best idea of what a selling price should be. They should provide comps no more than 6 months old of similar homes in similar condition. I've had horrible experience with two appraisers on two different occasions. The first was when I hired an independent appraiser who charged almost $1000 and gave comps on 2 homes that were in a different, less expensive neighborhood. She also included one home up the street - but I found the old listing photos on line, and the place was a mess, literally, and hadn't been updated in 40 years. What a waste of money. The second appraisal was a different time, and forced by the current bank when we wanted to re-fi to a lower rate with that same bank. They insisted we needed a FULL appraisal. LESSON - if possible, do not go with the bank related appraiser; we had the opportunity to choose another one, but I thought it was too much trouble. Ha! What was too much trouble was for the b/a dude to spend more than 20 min walking thru a 4000 sq ft house. On his way out the door I asked what he'd seen - he had missed (missed!) two bathrooms and a bedroom. How's that even possible? For that I paid $685. That "full" appraisal certainly added to the bank's bottom line (it was their appraisal division) and it upped my anger quotient as well.

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