What impacts appraisal?

cardinal94June 11, 2013

Getting to final stages on custom build plans/contract/etc. We are concerned about the appraisal process. All lots in our area 5 to 10 acres. We have owned 10 acres for number of yrs. Many very large new custom homes being built in area so there are not sales comps per se for these homes.

What can we do to impact the appraisal - up or down - in our decision making process? Plan is done so square footage, baths/bdrs done. Contract is not finalized. Will allowances stated on contract impact the appraisal much?

Thank you!

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I don't know - we are in a very similar situation - 5 to 10 acre lots, large new homes being built, our house is unique (log house), so our lender hasn't known what to do with it. They finally found a few homes that are close to being comparable, in quality if not in specific style. It sounds like they've accepted the appraisal, but it hasn't been an easy thing.

What part of the country are you in? I'm just curious - you sound like you could be a (future) neighbor!

    Bookmark   June 11, 2013 at 11:05AM
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Allowances on contract don't affect appraisal, and we have found that choice of material really doesn't either, by much. In other words, stone countertops are all the same - no uptick for super expensive quartzite vs basic granite, no uptick for wide handscraped floors vs basic narrow hardwoods, etc.

We had a friendly banker, thank goodness, because our final appraisal was about half what we had in the house and land. The good news is that I was able to use that appraisal with the tax assessor to significantly reduce our assessed value.

    Bookmark   June 11, 2013 at 11:56AM
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The appraiser had to look farther away for comps... like 20-30 minutes away. We made many energy efficient choices and outlined these well in the spec and cost sheet, but I don't think these things really improved the appraised price. We only plan to borrow about half of the homes value, so details of our appraised value didn't matter to us so much, but it could have been an issue if we had wanted to borrow more. So, if you are thinking of geothermal, spray foam, sealed crawlspace, radiant barrier, etc, you may want to plan for some cushion because that money may not show up in the appraisal.

    Bookmark   June 11, 2013 at 12:27PM
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As far as I could tell with ours, degree of finish hardly mattered at all. It seemed to be almost entirely about the style of house, number of bedrooms and baths, and it's square footage.

Since you've owned your land for a while, they will assess the value of the land too. We'd just purchased our land, and so they took what we'd paid as it's value (which has a certain logic).

    Bookmark   June 11, 2013 at 2:06PM
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Agree with most people's comments. Square footage (useable), basement or not, garage or not, paved driveway or not, number (and size) of bedrooms and bath.

As others said, quality only mattered so much. Built-in appliances were worth more, but $5000 double oven is appraised the same as $2000 double oven. Ceramic tile and laminate floors were graded together in my area. Hardwoods a step up, irrespective of price.

Somehow my $90 cheapie "jetted" shower panel gave me some big $$, along with a jacuzzi tub...but again, $2000 vs. $5000 jacuzzi made no difference.

Fireplace adds value. My multitude of windows did nothing. ICF basement added nothing compared to normal concrete walls. Got extra for having a porch and deck, but their size had no impact.

Walk-in closets a bonus.

Same with cabinets. They recognized that they were semi-custom, but that's where the value ended.

So focus on low-priced high-end finishings and you'll be fine. And anything not "visual" gives you no value...like energy efficiencies, in-wall speakers, extra insulation, etc.

    Bookmark   June 11, 2013 at 2:55PM
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This has been helpful. Thank you so much.

Know we can't be neighbors to the log home because we're in southern Florida. We are building ICF.

Years ago when we lived in the Mid Atlantic, I was on garden web almost daily. I learned so much - and was also able to contribute. It's good to be back.

    Bookmark   June 12, 2013 at 6:57AM
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