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2012-01-16 16:10:06

How to Stage a Home for the Appraisor

How to Stage your Home for the Appraiser?
by Julie Oelckers, QualityFirst Real Estate



You finally got a firm and acceptable purchase offer  for your home. The paperwork is signed. No more open houses! However, it is not yet time to celebrate. The Appraiser is headed over in a week.  What can you do to make sure your house appraises at the right number?


In this tight market, every day we see homes that were in the sales pipeline drop out because the appraiser’s number did not match the offered price. This can be disastrous as the house comes back on the market, now at a lowered price, or it can lead to another round of negotiations. Neither of these situations are good for the seller.


So what do you need to do?


Keep in mind that staging for the appraiser is just as important as staging for a new buyer, maybe even more so. The sellers should get a physical inspection for the property being sold which gives them the opportunity to get any safety items addressed ahead of time (I would recommend doing this prior or at the beginning of listing the property). 


Most agents recommend that their buyers opt to get a physical inspection for the  property during their 17 day inspection period. 


The home needs to be decluttered inside and out, looking in tip top shape, as if you are showing the home for the first time with no offer on the table.  Make sure that your grass and shrubs are trimmed neatly and watered.  Have your front door and entry clean, free of cobwebs. If the front door has chipped old paint a fresh coat of paint will make the door shine like new.  If the door is wood a new coat of Varathane will bring out the beauty of the wood. 



Make sure to have your dogs vacated during the appraisers visit and clean up their droppings! Make sure that all of your garden tools and outdoor toys are put away in a storage shed or designated place in the garage.  By the way, this is a good time to finally get rid of those unfinished projects in the yard; bricks, rocks, wood piles etc.  You won't need them as you are moving. 


The appraiser is looking for any defects that the lender would require fixing. Replace missing kitchen cupboard doors, malfunctioning drawers, broken windows, etc..


Ceiling stains from an old roof leak draw attention. If the problem has been repaired make sure to follow up with the necessary cosmetic work such as painting the previous problem area.   If you have a leaky roof you will want to get it repaired with proper documentation to pass on to the new owner.  Make sure you have smoke and carbon monoxide detectors installed and working. Both of  these are now lender required safety items. 


Appraisers may ask questions about the house condition and maintenance history which will require answers. Listen before answering. Take your time. If you don’t understand the question, have them re-state it. Don’t take the questions personally.


 If the carpet is dirty this is a great time to steam clean it, the new buyer will appreciate your effort, it will make the home show and smell much better. Make sure all of the light switch plates are not cracked and match, this costs only a few dollars. 


This is a great time to pack up some of your nick-nacks and personal photos, box them up labeled in the garage, they will be ready for the move. The 30-45 day escrow period goes quick and this clearing out exercise will give you a headstart on the move.


The appraiser will need to see inside the garage and have access to the entire home and yard. By making sure that everything is out of the way, you can eliminate the need for the appraiser to revisit the home.


As your appraiser may not be familiar with your neighborhood and home values, another way to facilitate the appraisal process is to work with your real estate agent to find and provide a list of the appropriate comps, list of the house upgrades, what makes our house special, anything you think that may help your appraiser justify a higher value for your home.



The appraiser’s visit to the home is generally brief. In and out. You want to make the best impressions in this short visit. If the needed appraisal number for the sale of the house doesn't come in, the buyer's lender is not going to loan on the house.  You are not only selling this home to the new buyer, you are also selling the home to the lender which is providing the loan.


The sale of your property is not final until escrow is cleared. In today’s tight market where lenders are very apprehensive about making loans and are very careful regarding property valuations, staging your home to maximize its value for the appraisal is very important. 







JULIE OELCKERS started her career as a Realtor in 1999.  Julie works with both buyers and sellers and is committed to the highest level of excellence and service.  She thoroughly enjoys being an important role in their home buying experience and negotiating their biggest and wisest investment.  Julie has the ability to guide the seller through the selling process and look at what can be done to maximize their net return. 


Julie has an extensive construction background, having helped to manage her husband's general contracting business over the past 22 years. Her knowledge of construction defects is beneficial to the buyer when it comes to identifying potential problems and in negotiating requests for repairs.


Julie is enthusiastic and communicates well with her clients and listens to what their needs and concerns are. Nothing satisfies her more than a happy client for life!




You can contact the author at


Julie Oelckers

Quality First Real Estate

2763 Camino Del Rio South #300

San Diego, CA  92108


Phone:  619-925-5047


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