If you are trying to refinance your VA loan with a VA cash out loan, you will need a new appraisal. This is the determining factor in how much money you can borrow. VA loans allow up to a 100% LTV for cash-out refinances, but the actual dollar amount depends on the home’s value.
So how do you make the most of your home’s value? You need to prep your home! It’s not as hard as it sounds. Use the tips below to help you get the best value for your home.
Amp up the Curb Appeal
The first impression of your home is what sets the tone for the appraiser. As he/she drives up to your home, an impression is set. If your lawn is uncared for and your home just looks unkempt from the outside, the appraiser has a negative attitude right from the start. This doesn’t mean he will unfairly appraise your home, but it could make a slight impact.
Do what you can to make sure the lawn is mowed, the landscaping trimmed, and possibly even flowers planted. You don’t have to go crazy, but anything to make the exterior of your home look ‘homey’ will help with that first impression.
Clean up the Interior
It probably goes without saying, but the interior of your home should be nothing less than spotless. Remove the clutter, clear the dust, and make everything look ‘neat.’ This not only gives the appraiser room to move around, but it lets him see every aspect of your home. For example, if you put in all wood floors and new windows, but you have clutter all over the floor and ripped window treatments, he’s going to overlook the good stuff as he’ll be distracted with the clutter.
You want to create a feeling of cleanliness and organization. If that means putting some of your stuff in storage for a few days, do it. It will have a great impact on the value of your home just because the appraiser can think better when he has a clear, unobstructed view of your home.
Fix any Serious Issues
If you know there is a serious issue with your home, fix it before the appraisal. This isn’t an inspection, so don’t worry about things that go beyond what the naked eye can see, but keep the home in good condition. For example, all appliances should be in good working condition. The carpeting and/or flooring should be safe from any hazards. There shouldn’t be any holes in walls or any other hazards readily visible.
Basically, everything in the home should be in good, working condition. If there’s anything that you know is broken, it’s best if you fix it before you get to the appraisal. You never know what the appraiser will look at as he values your home. For example, if you have a leaking pipe beneath your bathroom faucet – fix it. You can’t predict if the appraiser will open the cabinets or not. If he does and sees the water damage, it could lower the value of your home.
Create a List of Upgrades
If you made any improvements or upgrades to the home, have a list of them ready. This could be major or minor improvements. You’ll want the dates that you made the changes as well as any proof of them, including the bill of sale or labor contract. This helps the appraiser get a dollar value for the changes to help him decide how it affects your home’s value.
The bottom line is that your home should look as if you are trying to sell it when the appraiser comes through it. This gives him the best idea of the true value of your home. Without any clutter or unnecessary items in the way, he can get a good look at the condition of your home, and value it appropriately. Clean and in good condition is always the best rule of thumb.