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Tips for Increasing Your Appraisal Value: An Interview with Mary Thompson of Lanier Appraisal Service

Tell us a little bit about your company and its foundation.

Our Company Lanier Appraisal Service was founded in 1999. I worked for 2 Appraisal Companies from 1993 to 1999 as an Appraiser prior to founding my own Company.

Prior to becoming an appraiser I was a Real Estate Agent and that gave me a unique perspective on valuation from both an Appraiser's and a Realtor's point of view.

What are some of the services your company provides?

We specialize in Lake Lanier Property and Pre-Listing Appraisals on All Single Family Residential Homes. We have worked with many sellers to help them determine the proper listing price for their homes. We cover Hall, Gwinnett, Forsyth and South Dawson Counties in Georgia. We appraise for both Lenders and Private parties.

As an appraiser, what are the big influential areas you look to when deciding a home's worth?

We first look at Location and total Square footage of the home. Bathroom and Kitchen upgrades/renovations still are some of the biggest factors in driving value upward. We look at overall quality of construction and condition of the home. How well has it been maintained and if major systems have been replaced, updated, renovated, etc.

How important are the little things to you (e.g. trimming of the lawn, having a clean house) when it comes to assessing the value of a home?

When the yard and landscape is nicely trimmed and the home is clean at the time of the appraisal inspection, it does make a difference as it sends a signal that most likely the rest of home and its major systems have been well maintained. Cosmetic issues should not impact appraised value significantly, but there are subjective factors involved. Appraising is an ART not a Science and when a home is neat as a pin upon appraisal inspection and the landscape looks good, the condition rating in the report will reflect this and will translate into extra value to some degree.

Do you have any advice for someone who is looking to persuade you, as a home appraiser, that their house is actually worth more than it may appear?

The best thing a homeowner can do if they want to "persuade" an appraiser that their home is worth more than it may appear is to provide the appraiser with a "Bragg Sheet" on their home. Give them all the significant and major renovations, updates, upgrades that have been done, including costs, for the past 15 years. Appraisers must include this data in their appraisal reports for lenders and if the appraiser knows exactly what has been put into the home plus costs involved, there is less change for estimations or guess work on the part of the appraiser.

How much research about the neighborhood do you do prior to the home appraisal?

As for research of the neighborhood, we look to our general knowledge base of the area. Hopefully the appraiser is already familiar with the neighborhood as this can make a significant difference in valuation. If they do not have the requisite knowledge of the area, they need to get if from local Realtors, publications, FMLS data which provides demographics of the area. School performance records should be reviewed or known. Employment opportunities should be reviewed or known. There is quite a bit of information that the Appraiser needs to be aware of in order to properly evaluate Location. If they cannot get this required information, they should decline the assignment.

How important is the neighborhood when it comes to valuing a home?

See above, Location is still the number 1 factor in Real Estate Valuation. So it is very important for a myriad of reasons which impact market value up or down.

Where are some areas that if the homeowner just took some time to fix up it would drastically improve their home value? (e.g. fresh paint, curb appeal, garage maintenance)

Some things that can be done which provide the greatest return for the least amount of money is Fresh paint inside and out or at least pressure wash the exterior, Landscaping, Clean or new carpet, resurfacing of scratched up hardwood floors. Something that is very reasonable in price that people do not think of is replacing the old brass colored interior door knobs and hinges as well as pulls or knobs on your kitchen cabinets if they are dated. Updating of old light fixtures or fans is also a good idea. Or, updating appliances can also provide a good return on investment. While any or all of these items may not Drastically improve value, they will result in added value and improve the overall appeal of your home, which can translate into offers on your home that may not have occurred if nothing was done prior to placing your home on the market.

What is the best way for people to get in contact with you or your company?

Contact us via our email address: or Call us at 770-967-0753. Our website

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