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Mortgage Rates Fall Below 3.7%

www.AOL.Realestate.com - Tue, 01/12/2016 - 16:35

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ZillowThe weekly mortgage rate chart illustrates the average 30-year fixed interest rate in six-hour intervals.

By Lauren Braun

Mortgage rates for 30-year fixed home loans fell this week, with the current rate borrowers were quoted on Zillow at 3.68 percent, down 13 basis points from last week.

The 30-year fixed mortgage rate fell steadily until Friday, then hovered around the current rate for the rest of the week.

"Mortgage rates fell last week despite strong U.S. economic data as investors sought safe assets in the wake of stock market turmoil in Asia," said Erin Lantz, vice president of mortgages at Zillow. "With rates near their lowest levels since late October, we expect rates to move cautiously upward this week."

Additionally, the 15-year fixed mortgage rate was 2.87 percent. For 5/1 ARMs, or adjustable-rate mortgages, the rate was 2.97 percent.

Check Zillow for mortgage rate trends and up-to-the-minute rates for your state, or use the mortgage calculator to calculate monthly payments at the current rates.

 

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Apartment vacancies rise for first time in 6 years

CNBC Real Estate - Mon, 01/11/2016 - 18:17
High rents and falling vacancies have characterized the U.S. apartment market for the past six years, but that is suddenly changing.

Why homeowners are leaving billions on the table

CNBC Real Estate - Mon, 01/11/2016 - 15:54
More than 5M borrowers could qualify and benefit from a mortgage refinance, according to a new report.

How to Avoid a War with the Neighbors

www.AOL.Realestate.com - Sun, 01/10/2016 - 11:56

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Hill Street Studios

By Devon Thorsby

A disagreement between neighbors can escalate quickly. One minute you're mowing your lawn, the next you're plotting revenge on the homeowner next to you for parking his car on your freshly cut grass.

"You hear about neighbors chasing each other down with spades and all sorts of weird things," notes Nick Hall, director of the Dispute Resolution Center of Harris County, Texas, which offers mediation for civil disputes, including neighborhood problems.

It doesn't serve you well to pick a fight with the people who live on the properties surrounding yours, and especially not when you've just moved in. But it can be all too easy to start off on the wrong foot with a neighbor, and it can haunt you for years to come. (Another strategy: Check out the neighbors before you buy the house.)

While you don't have to be the next Lucy and Ethel, you and your neighbors should be able to get along amicably enough to avoid major disagreements when it comes to what you each do with your properties. Follow a few simple guidelines to get on your neighbor's good side from the start.

Introduce Yourself

You're not required to bring a casserole, but a knock on the door and friendly handshake will go a long way. It's harder for your neighbors to make assumptions about you when you approach them with a friendly greeting -- and it's not as easy for them to hate you when they think you're just so darn sweet.

"Don't have the first contact with your neighbors be when you need something, or when you have a complaint," says Stuart Watson, a staff mediator at Resolutions Northwest, a center for dispute resolution in Portland, Oregon. "Build some kind of relationship first, so that when you do want to remodel your garage into a spare rec room ... you're not coming up to somebody you don't know with demands."

If you're moving into a community with a homeowners association or other kind of neighborhood group, Hall says it's a good idea to attend the first meeting you can and start the relationships early. You can even go as far as offering to organize a community event. "Everyone likes potlucks, so why not do a block party or a street party and invite everyone?" Hall says.

Know the Rules

Everyone wants to think they're right, but before you do anything to your property, be sure you're following the neighborhood or municipal rules when it comes to construction, noise and other hot buttons for cranky neighbors.

Reading up on the community's regulations should happen even before you buy the property, says Brad Aldrich, senior attorney at Aldrich Legal Services in Plymouth, Michigan, who specializes in real estate law, among other areas. Especially if the home you're buying is part of a homeowners or condo association, be sure any construction or landscaping you do on your property doesn't put you in the wrong.

"Forget bothering your neighbor -- if you wanted to put in a pool, but for whatever reason your local homeowners association didn't allow pools ... you're not going to be able to put one in," Aldrich says.

Being familiar with regulations and local ordinances, like setback requirements from the property line for any structures, could help you know if your neighbor is infringing on the rules as well.

"We get a lot of people call in and say, 'I've never owned a home before, and I don't know if my neighbor is doing something wrong,'" Aldrich says, adding that familiarity with regulations can help you avoid speculation, so any issues are based on fact and written rules or laws.

Let Them Know of Any Changes

Whether you're planning to redo the landscaping or put an addition on the back of your home, it's a courtesy to give your neighbors advance warning of any construction on your property.

Renee Bove, a staff mediator with Watson at Resolutions Northwest, says many of the neighbor disputes that come to mediation reach a heightened level simply because one person didn't communicate well with the other. "Oftentimes, it's just a simple misunderstanding that somebody had a pretty good intention that kind of backfired and had a negative impact. And they don't talk about it, so it takes a life of its own," Bove says.

For example, warning that you plan to put up a tall fence because your dog can jump high will probably go over better than erecting a privacy fence without any notice.

If it Would Bother You, Don't Do It

The rule of treating others the way you want to be treated still applies as a homeowner. If you keep your neighbors in mind when you make decisions, you're far less likely to tick them off.

An example: You don't want excess water runoff on your property, so don't assume your neighbor will think any differently if you direct your drain pipes at his foundation. Yet, Aldrich says water runoff is a common cause of neighbor disputes.

"If the natural topography of the land is that water runs off into an adjacent property, that's really not the other property owner's fault -- it's just the way the land is," Aldrich says. "But if that property owner were to put in a sump pump and then route the water line to where it dumps directly on the neighbor's property, well then, that is an act of the one property owner where it does negatively impact the neighbor," Aldrich says.

In Portland, Bove says a growing topic of dispute involves using a home for Airbnb stays, whether it's the whole house or individual rooms. The new home rental trend "just brings a lot more traffic and new people into a neighborhood that can be disconcerting for other neighbors," Bove explains.

It can be useful to have a conversation with your neighbors before listing your home for rent, and, ensure you are not infringing on any laws, guidelines or regulations.

Count to 10

Being a good neighbor doesn't mean you have to let everyone walk all over you (or your land). If you believe your neighbor is encroaching on your property or your ability to live peacefully, you shouldn't have to suffer.

But keep in mind, people have a tendency to dig in their heels when they feel their property is being threatened, so it's best to tread lightly when addressing issues.

"If you give someone a ticket, or if you go to court or to trial of some kind, you're going to make even bigger enemies of the neighbors," Hall says. "And yet, [you're] going to have to continue living together in the same neighborhood."

Bove uses the example of a homeowner parking a few inches in front of a neighbor's driveway during a personal emergency. Seeing the car blocking part of the driveway, but not knowing why, the neighbor assumes it is an intentional slight.

"They just didn't take a moment to come from a place of curiosity: 'Hey, I noticed your car was in my driveway a little bit. What was happening for you?'" Bove says.

In the event you simply can't resolve a problem on your own, mediation is often an effective way to ensure both parties are heard, and put some rules down without taking it all the way to court.

Watson estimates mediation through Resolutions Northwest resolves about 80 percent of the disputes brought to them, with a solution made that day. But the number of parties that come out of mediation feeling it was a positive experience is even higher, he says. "Even in those more rare times when they don't come to some kind of agreement, it was helpful for them to be able to have a discussion and to feel their concerns were heard."

 

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China stock swoon could boost US real estate

CNBC Real Estate - Fri, 01/08/2016 - 17:20
China nearly quadrupled its U.S. real estate play in a year. As China's economy and stock market spiral, will that help or hurt here?

Lock in now! Stock sell-off sinks mortgage rates

CNBC Real Estate - Thu, 01/07/2016 - 17:08
You may be losing your shirt in the stock market this week, but you could get a leg up on your home loan.

Sylvester Stallone's Stylish Desert Home Back on the Market

www.AOL.Realestate.com - Thu, 01/07/2016 - 06:00

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Zillow

By Laura Vecsey

AP/Dennis Van TineSylvester Stallone

Sylvester Stallone and wife Jennifer Flavin may be walking a lot of red carpets soon, thanks to Stallone's Golden Globe-nominated role in the movie "Creed." But they still want to walk away from their California desert retreat.

Listed in November 2014 and removed in July 2015, the La Quinta home is back on the market, this time for $4.2 million, the New York Post reports.

The Hollywood couple bought the Mediterranean-style villa in 2010 for $4.5 million.

This is one home where the "Rocky" creator doesn't plan to stash any of the trophies he brings home this awards season.

The listing agent is Josh Reef of the Hurwitz James Company.

 

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Mortgage applications plunge after Fed hike rush

CNBC Real Estate - Wed, 01/06/2016 - 12:00
A Fed rate hike pulled mortgage demand forward, and made for a steep drop-off in the past two weeks.

Mortgage Rates Still Low at 3.74%, But Volatility Likely

www.AOL.Realestate.com - Wed, 01/06/2016 - 10:28

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ZillowThe weekly mortgage rate chart illustrates the average 30-year fixed interest rate in six-hour intervals.

By Lauren Braun

Mortgage rates for 30-year fixed loans fell this week, with the rate borrowers were quoted on Zillow at 3.74 percent, down seven basis points from last week.

The 30-year fixed mortgage fell to 3.78 percent on Thursday, then hovered there before dropping to the current rate.

"Mortgage rates fell early this week as financial markets returned from the New Year's holiday to a collapse in Asian equities, which pushed capital flows to safe assets including U.S. mortgage bonds," said Erin Lantz, vice president of mortgages at Zillow. "We expect continued volatility this week leading up to Wednesday's publication of the December Federal Open Market Committee meeting minutes and Friday's all-important jobs report."

Additionally, the 15-year fixed mortgage rate was 2.96 percent. For 5/1 ARMs, or adjustable-rate mortgages, the rate was 2.97 percent.

Check Zillow for mortgage rate trends and up-to-the-minute rates for your state, or use the mortgage calculator to calculate monthly payments at the current rates.

 

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Why people are flocking to Oregon

CNBC Real Estate - Tue, 01/05/2016 - 17:36
If it's cheaper, they will come. That thinking has been behind a major real estate boom in Oregon. But can it last?

Manhattan real estate prices shatter records

CNBC Real Estate - Tue, 01/05/2016 - 12:00
The average apartment price in Manhattan hit a record $1.95 million in 4Q, as high-end real estate defies volatile stock markets.

China slowdown to hit luxury real estate

CNBC Real Estate - Mon, 01/04/2016 - 16:10
A new report suggests that China's economic slowdown is pinching luxury real estate globally.

6 Tips for a Quick Home Sale in 2016

www.AOL.Realestate.com - Sat, 01/02/2016 - 06:00

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Andy Dean/Getty

By Laura Agadoni

When it comes to timing your home sale, predicting the real estate market can seem impossible. Even psychics don't always know what the future holds for real estate. But you can make some predictions based on what's happened in past real estate cycles.

For starters, 2016 is an election year. There's also talk of interest rates potentially rising even higher than the quarter-point hike that went into effect in December, the first such rate increase since 2006. Your strategies for selling, because of those issues and more, might differ this year.

Here are six clever tips to learn how to sell a house fast and to help your home sell quickly in 2016.

1. Price the home right.

If you ask two real estate agents whether you should underprice or overprice your home for sale, you might get opposite responses. The overprice camp believes you can get more money by asking for more money.

The underprice side believes you'll pique the interest of more potential buyers by asking less than the price that comparable properties fetch. That could start a bidding war, which could drive the price back up.

"I am a huge proponent of underpricing just ever so slightly," says Brett Miles, an agent with Douglas Elliman in New York. "Buyers are extremely savvy these days and watch the market like hawks. They are well aware of the bloated asking prices we are experiencing currently."

Sellers have been "successfully pushing the envelope on ask for three-plus years," says James Brune, also an agent with Douglas Elliman in New York. "But prices are plateauing now," he says. "Sellers will need to be realistic and price at or below current market to get maximum interest [in their home]."

2. Finance the sale yourself.

Federal Reserve officials are calling for a gradual rate increase over time. The federal funds rate has been 0 percent for years. The recent December increase brings the rate to 0.25%. The next increase will bring it to 0.5 percent, and there could be more increases after that. "If mortgage rates [keep rising], this will begin to affect affordability across the board," says Brune.

One way to help a potential buyer afford to buy your home if interest rates rise is to "offer to finance the purchase; be the bank," says Miles. If you finance the deal, you can make the monthly payments work for your buyer by offering a lower interest rate than they could get from a traditional mortgage lender.

3. Stage your home.

It's always a good idea to present your home in the best light possible before a sale, and doing so becomes even more important during a buyer's market.

If buyers believe election results "will affect their pocketbooks directly, they may wait to buy," says Miles. The same happens with increased interest rates. "People sit where they are [instead of buying]," says Jessica Dolan, a Pennsylvania home stager. "Therefore, it becomes a buyer's market, and sellers will really need to make their properties shine through."

Dolan suggests some tips and tricks, many of which won't cost you anything, except a little elbow grease:

-- Deep-clean from top to bottom.
-- Remove screens from windows to let in more light (make sure the glass is clean).
-- Clear all walkways throughout the house.
-- Make sure all doors, closets, and cabinets can open easily.
-- Put out fresh fruit on the kitchen table and fresh flowers on bathroom counters.
-- Display clean towels in bathrooms.
-- Hide all personal items in bathrooms, including trash cans.
-- Pull furniture away from walls to create social sitting areas.
-- Give each room a purpose, especially oddly shaped or random rooms.
-- Paint the ceilings white, especially in dark rooms, to reflect more light.

4. Prepare for El Niño.

The topic of weather is more than just small talk when it comes to selling your home. Extreme weather conditions, such as more rain from El Niño, for example, play a role. And El Niño is likely to be a factor during winter and early spring 2016, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

"It may seem strange that a weather event could have an impact on home sales, but knowing that weather is coming can be a deciding factor for purchasing older homes, fixer-uppers, and anything with a roofing, foundation, or plumbing problem," says Alexander Ruggie of 911 Restoration.

But there are ways to make your home more marketable during El Niño conditions, says Ruggie:

-- For colder-climate homes: Add gutter heaters, which keep gutters and downspouts running free and clear. Doing so helps prevent ceiling leaks from overflows from increased snowfall.
-- For homes in warmer climates: Keep water at bay by adding weatherproofing tape and new window glazing.
-- For homes with basements: Purchase a sump pump.

You can also appeal to environmentally conscious buyers by installing a water catchment system to harvest rainwater from El Niño.

5. Time the sale.

Springtime and early summer are traditionally good times to put your house on the market for a quick sale. And this becomes even more important in 2016 since it's an election year.

"Election years mean uncertainty to a housing market," says Mike Minihan, a real estate agent in Atlanta. "If you are concerned that the election could potentially throw a wrench in the market, [spring and early summer] will be early enough in the year to get the house sold before wild speculation starts breeding fear in homebuyers."

6. Target millennials.

It's a safe bet that when you sell your home in 2016, your target market will be millennials, people between the ages of 18 and 34.

"Baby boomers will start to cash out of their houses, which will put more houses on the market," says Sam Heskel, CEO of Nadlan Valuation, a New York City appraisal company. An increased inventory of homes combined with an improving job market "will enable more millennials to become homebuyers."

Millennials tend to like backyard decks, gourmet kitchens, open floor plans, balconies with views, and vegetable gardens. If your home has any of those amenities, feature them in your marketing.

 

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After strong summer, Tampa home sales slow

CNBC Real Estate - Thu, 12/31/2015 - 16:39
Closed sales dropped 1.7 percent in Tampa, Florida, in November compared to November 2014, as inventory fell over 7 percent.

2015 Report Card: Where Housing Was Worth the Most

www.AOL.Realestate.com - Thu, 12/31/2015 - 11:49

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By Jordyn Lee

In 2015, the value of all homes across the U.S. increased $1.1 trillion, growing 4.1 percent over the past year. At year end, the entire housing stock is expected to be valued at $28.5 trillion -- $10 trillion more than 2015's third quarter U.S. gross domestic product.

The most valuable market going into 2016 is the Los Angeles metropolitan area, with a total value of $2.4 trillion. California as a whole accounts for almost a quarter of the country's cumulative home value, which isn't surprising considering it's home to such high-valued markets as Los Angeles, San Francisco, and San Jose.

Renters spent $535 billion nationally on housing in 2015 -- nearly as much as the total budget of the Department of Defense ($575 billion). That's almost $20 billion more than in 2014, due to 1.8 million new renter households and rental prices rising at record pace.

Renters in the New York/Northern New Jersey market spent the most on rent in 2015 -- about $56 billion.

Here are the 10 most valuable housing markets and the 10 markets that paid the most rent in 2015.


Total Home Value at Year End

  1. Los Angeles-Long Beach-Anaheim, Calif. - $2.4 trillion
  2. New York/Northern New Jersey - $2.3 trillion
  3. San Francisco - $1.2 trillion
  4. Washington - $939 billion
  5. Miami-Fort Lauderdale, Fla. - $773 billion
  6. Chicago - $741 billion
  7. Boston - $634 billion
  8. San Jose, Calif. - $614 billion
  9. San Diego - $574 billion
  10. Philadelphia - $567 billion


Total Rent Paid at Year End

  1. New York/Northern New Jersey - $55.9 billion
  2. Los, Angeles-Long Beach-Anaheim - $34.5 billion
  3. San Francisco- $16.7 billion
  4. Chicago - $16.5 billion
  5. Washington - $14.0 billion
  6. Boston - $13.4 billion
  7. Houston - $13.1 billion
  8. Dallas-Fort Worth - $12.8 billion
  9. Miami-Fort Lauderdale - $11.2 billion
  10. Seattle - $10.2 billion

 

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Warmer temps no help: Pending home sales slide

CNBC Real Estate - Wed, 12/30/2015 - 15:00
Warmer-than-normal temperatures across much of the nation did nothing to heat up home sales in November.

Top global real estate markets in 2015

CNBC Real Estate - Wed, 12/30/2015 - 06:16
CNBC takes a look at which housing markets across the world posted the biggest gains in 2015 and which ones you should watch next year.

Mortgage Rates Only Slightly Higher at 3.81% in Quiet Week

www.AOL.Realestate.com - Wed, 12/30/2015 - 06:00

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ZillowThe weekly mortgage rate chart illustrates the average 30-year fixed interest rate in six-hour intervals.

By Lauren Braun

Mortgage rates for 30-year fixed loans rose this week, with the rate borrowers were quoted Tuesday on Zillow at 3.81 percent, up six basis points from last week.

The 30-year fixed mortgage rose throughout the week, reaching 3.86 percent on Saturday before falling Monday.

"Mortgage rates increased modestly early last week, mostly due to market anomalies associated with the holiday-shortened week," said Erin Lantz, vice president of mortgages at Zillow. "We expect another quiet couple of days in mortgage markets this week."

Additionally, the 15-year fixed mortgage rate was 3.02 percent, and for 5/1 ARMs, the rate was 3.05 percent.

Check Zillow for mortgage rate trends and up-to-the-minute rates for your state, or use the mortgage calculator to calculate monthly payments at the current rates.

 

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203(K) Streamlined Improvements & 203(K) Rehab - The Voice Observer (blog)

LA Home Inspector - Wed, 12/30/2015 - 02:11

203(K) Streamlined Improvements & 203(K) Rehab
The Voice Observer (blog)
With this loan option, homebuyers can quickly and easily tap into cash to pay for property repairs or improvements, such as those identified by a home inspector or FHA appraiser or homebuyer preferences, such as energy efficient improvements ...

and more »

Real Estate Appraisals and the True Value of Your House

www.AOL.Realestate.com - Tue, 12/29/2015 - 14:01

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Shutterstock / Nata-Lia

By Devon Thorsby

It can be hard to place a monetary value on something that carries sentimental value.

But when you're ready to sell your home and find yourself tasked with pricing the place you hold so dear, how do you do it right?

Gregory Barr, chief appraiser for Graham Appraisal in Glasgow, Kentucky, explains that all too often homeowners expect a higher appraisal value for their home when they put it on the market. "When we come by, everyone thinks their house is worth a lot more. When the tax assessor comes by, it's worth a lot less," he says.

At the end of the day, your home is worth as much as someone else will pay for it -- and it's an appraiser's job to estimate what that value could be. "The market value is what a prospective buyer is willing to pay for the subject property," explains Kelly Kellogg, owner of Appraisal Experts Inc. near Orlando, Florida. Kellogg is the author of "ABCs of a CMA," which provides real estate agents with a breakdown of comparative market analysis to price and sell properties.

An appraisal can be used at different stages of the home selling or buying process by the buyer, seller or lender to determine the market value of a home. The appraisal process is often helpful for owners preparing to put their home on the market and especially when a seller and real estate agent have trouble agreeing on an initial asking price.

If you're told your home is worth less than what you thought it was, what could be the cause? Appraisers weigh in on some of the major factors that could be dragging down the value of your home.

Your home doesn't compare to that house down the street. Appraisers use recent transactions of similar homes in the area to assess your home's potential value -- but the houses must have the same amenities, features and condition to be truly comparable.

According to Carole Christensen, owner of Appraisal Minnesota in Northfield, Minnesota, homeowners are often confused when they receive an appraisal value lower than expected, and argue that the neighbor's house down the street sold for X more dollars. "Well, [your] neighbor's house has a brand-new kitchen and baths and is 30 percent larger than your house and is a different design," Christensen says.

The number of bedrooms, in particular, is a key factor in selecting comparable sales. Kellogg says appraisers aim to compare prices of homes with the same number of bedrooms because the detail changes what the potential buyer is willing to pay.

"Typically we find that three-bedrooms sell for a higher value variance than a two-bedroom dwelling. You want to compare apples to apples if possible," Kellogg says.

Planes, trains and automobiles are always zooming past your house. There are a lot of things you can control when it comes to ensuring at least a certain value in your home, but some are outside your reach -- and outside your property lines.

Christensen says while a lake or pond can add value to a home, property backing up to a busy road, airport or power line is typically less desirable. "If you have a highway or a railroad, that's not conducive to a good sales price. But that's the exterior stuff you can't do anything about," she says.

You upgraded too much. Updates and added amenities can be a great way to increase the value of your home, but don't expect to get back what you paid for those changes when you sell the home.

Many subdivisions with homes that are similar to each other will often sell within a 20 percent price range of each other, depending on the age of the homes and renovations, Christensen says. For instance, a homeowner could make major upgrades, such as "a pool and a sauna, and an outdoor kitchen," she says.

But spending $100,000 on improvements doesn't mean you'll sell your house for $100,000 more -- and especially not in a subdivision where homes sell for $150,000 to $200,000. "They're not going to get that back because the area does not support that," Christensen says.

Barr says improvements made for the purpose of selling your home might not have the return on investment you're hoping for either. "If you put in $10,000 worth of landscaping, it might help you sell your house faster, but no one's going to give you back that $10,000," he says.

What You Can Do With a Low Appraisal

If your home appraised for less than you were hoping for, you're not doomed. The calculated value isn't set in stone; it serves as a snapshot of the market at a certain time, rather than an everlasting price.

"If I'm at your house on the 15th of December and I do an appraisal, and the next day the house across the street sells, that could have changed [the value] dramatically," Barr explains.

You can't guarantee changes in the market, and you can't change your neighborhood, but appraisers recommend doing a few things to ensure you understand your home's value, and they offer some easy fixes to increase interest from buyers.

Talk to the appraiser. It doesn't hurt to talk to the appraiser about what led him or her to the specific value of your home. And if you think something is missing from the conclusion, mention it. Lance Coyle, president of the Appraisal Institute and an appraiser in Dallas, says human error can potentially lead to a mistake in the analysis. "If it's not factually correct, 99.9 percent of appraisers out there are going to fix it, with no questions asked," Coyle says.

Even when all the facts are right, it's possible the appraiser is unaware of a similar house on the market that isn't available in the public record, and any missing transactions can have an impact on your home's value.

"Maybe you know your neighbor sold their house in the last six months. It sold off of the [multiple listing service] and so not a lot of people know about it," Coyle says. "If you have a situation like that, then that's certainly something you'd want to convey to the appraiser."

Ask for the price you think is best. An appraised value lower than expected doesn't mean there isn't a possibility you could sell your home for more money. If you believe you can get a higher offer, go for it.

"A seller can still sell the home or put the home on the market for what they believe the value is. But at least when a buyer comes along and makes an offer, now the seller has the appraisal to go back and say, 'Oh, there's something here, because I'm getting a similar offer [to the appraisal],' and then they can negotiate," Kellogg says. "Or if they get a lowball offer, the seller may decide to pull the appraisal out and share it with the potential buyer."

Just keep in mind, it's not easy to pass off a home for more than it's worth. "Buyers and sellers of homes are pretty astute as to what they're looking for and what they're willing to pay for," Coyle says. The appraised value reflects what people would be willing to pay, and it can be hard to find an outlier who will pay significantly more.

Fix things up. A new coat of paint and tidying up around the property can go a long way. Any real estate professional will encourage you to make your home clean and clutter-free , both inside and out, before potential buyers start touring.

Barr also recommends painting any rooms that might have bright or unique colors, and using neutral tones. "Neutral sells because people want to be able to go in and visualize their stuff in the house," he says.

Get the neighbors to help. To draw more interest and potential bids, ask your neighbors to park in their driveway, which will make the street less crowded. Kellogg says the fewer cars parked on the street in a subdivision, the better for any homes on the market.

It's only a slight inconvenience, and Kellogg explains the neighbors will benefit in the long run. "As a neighbor, you want the person who's moving to sell their home for the highest [price] the market will bear," he says, "because that affects your real estate value indirectly."

Sorry if these tips burst your home value hopes, but at least you'll be ready for an appraised price tag below the one you may have in your head -- and maybe even be prepared with a few tricks to increase interest and add value to your home.

 

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