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Be proactive to ensure an accurate evaluation.

If you’re planning to sell your home, refinance your loan or apply for a Home Equity Line of Credit you’ll need to have your home appraised.

Your appraiser is responsible for examining recent sales in your area and obtaining other information to assess your property. Technically, you don’t need to do anything but let the appraiser in and, depending on the type of transaction, pay for the service.

However, the following 5 steps can help you ensure your appraisal is as accurate as possible and correctly reflects your home’s true value:

  1. Provide ample documentation: AOL Real EstateThird Party Link suggests putting together a packet of official documents for the appraiser, including titles, recent tax bills, building plans and a list of any improvements you’ve made to your property. By providing these items, you’ll hopefully ensure the appraiser doesn’t accidentally miss or forget to include information in the appraisal.
  2. Consider updating your home’s interior: If you have the time and the budget, making a few design tweaks — such as updating cabinets in your home — can help improve your home’s appearance and, potentially, its perceived value, according to Coldwell BankerThird Party Link. Aim for repairs with a value of more than $500, such as fixing a cracked window or adding a handrail, because The Wall Street JournalThird Party Link says appraisers generally price properties in increments of that amount.

    Related: DIY at home and you may save 50%

  3. Make the appraiser’s job easier: The National Association of RealtorsThird Party Link recommends making sure your crawlspace, attic and basement entrances are accessible so the appraiser doesn’t have to move large objects to inspect the areas.
  4. Ensure your home is up to code: Check to confirm you have working carbon monoxide detectors, no mold or mildew or windows with bars that don’t have safety latches — which appraisers are required, by law, to check for.
  5. Spruce up your front yard: Mowing your lawn and generally improving your home’s exterior may help boost your appraiser’s first impression of your home. A messy yard could potentially cost you thousands of dollars in an appraisal.

If you are applying for a loan, according to the Consumer Financial Protection BureauThird Party Link, you are entitled to a free copy of your appraisal provided by your lender within three days of your closing. Once in hand, check the appraisal document to make sure it lists the correct number of bathrooms and bedrooms, square footage and other property details, and contact your lender about any issues you find as soon as possible.

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