How to Prepare for and Challenge a Low Real Estate Appraisal and Win
By Elizabeth Stewart @ Real Estate Daily
November 2, 2018

Homeowners are more conscious of the housing market and home prices than ever before. Today, many consumers are deeply invested in their home’s value and are not afraid to dispute an appraisal if it falls short of their standards.

Preparing before the appraisal is likely the most critical step of an appraisal process for the seller. Before the appraisal, sellers should clean up their home’s curb appeal, repair any electrical and plumbing issues, prepare a list of any improvements, and mention routine maintenance work.

Disputing a low appraisal after-the-fact is harder, but still possible. First, request a copy of the appraisal report through the buyer’s agent and comb over every detail checking for inaccuracies. If you find any errors, gather all the facts and paperwork that substantiate your claim, and contact the lender to appeal the appraisal.

Key Takeaways

  • Appraisal issues and disputes are increasing as home prices and competition in the housing market grows
  • Sellers should prepare for the appraisal by addressing curb appeal, electrical problems, plumbing issues, past improvements, and routine maintenance work
  • Request a copy of the appraisal report through the buyer’s agent to check for accuracy
  • If there are substantial errors if the appraisal report, contact the lender to appeal the appraisal


Rapidly rising home prices and bidding wars set the stage for appraisals coming in that don’t support the value of mortgage loans being asked for. Seasonal changes are another factor affecting current appraisals. Although not always successful, there are things both the seller and buyer can do to improve appraisals that come up short.

Preparing Before the Appraisal

The seller should already have most of these in place in preparation for showing the home to prospective buyers. Start with curb appeal. Make sure lawns are mowed and plants are tended to before the day of the appraisal. Have the interior of the house clean and presentable as if being shown to prospective buyers. Make sure any appliances that go with the sale are clean and in good working order. Ahead of time repair any electrical problems, leaking faucets, or other plumbing issues.

Prepare a list of additions and improvements that can be given to the appraiser. Include copies of related permits. If you don’t have copies of permits, you can check with your appropriate county or city government office. You should also mention routine and common maintenance work performed to demonstrate the home has been kept in good repair.

Make sure the appraiser has a pleasant visit. Ensure the inside temperature is appropriate for a hot or cold day. If you have pets, make sure to leash them or see if a friend can pet sit for a few hours. Bad smells are very off-putting, so eliminate pet and other odors without using an overwhelming fragrance.

Actions to Take After a Low Appraisal

Mistakes do happen. If you receive a low appraisal, you may be able to correct it. The first thing to do is request a copy of the appraisal report. The seller doesn’t receive a copy but can request one through the buyer’s agent. Check every detail in the report for accuracy. You may find simple but glaring errors that you can have corrected or reevaluated. It could be as simple as a paperwork error of checking the three bedroom box when the four bedroom box was supposed to be checked.

If you do find errors, contact the lender to appeal the appraisal. This is done more often than you might think. You’ll need to have your facts and paperwork straight. It’s important that you substantiate any claim with evidence.

A final remedy is paying for another appraisal if you’re convinced the first appraisal is too low. However, be aware that the buyer’s lender might not accept an independent appraisal because lenders typically use appraisers they trust.

View the original article at RealtyBizNews