Here’s a Q&A session about what you need to know about appraisals.

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Today Jennifer Emerson of Emerson Appraisals joins me to answer your questions about appraisals and share some tips for how to prepare for one, whether you’re selling or just want to know your home’s value:

Q: Can you trust the county recorder’s account of your square footage?

A: Look at the sketch the county has of your home—if it looks right, then test some of the measurements. For example, is that the right shape of your garage and are the measurements correct? Some counties don’t do a good job of including the second floor in the sketches.

If something doesn’t look accurate, have a professional come measure your house. Most appraisers will come measure for a fee, and many real estate agents can do this too. With the market the way it is right now, it’s crucial to get the legitimate square footage recorded.

Q: What are your thoughts on bidding wars?

A: Bidding wars happen quite a bit in the current market, and in contracts, we often see that the buyer is willing to pay a certain amount over what the appraised value is. However, they may bid $20,000 over asking price. Don’t rely on the appraiser to kill the deal or bring the asking price lower. This catches people off guard because they’re sometimes prepared to have their bid cut in half, but then must pay the full price. Be prepared to pay the amount you bid.

Q: How are prices these days?

A: In northwest Arkansas, prices are still steadily rising in most markets, though some areas have slowed a bit. There isn’t much inventory, so I don’t see the increase ceasing anytime soon. Many people want properties that are on the outskirts of town because of the pandemic; they want more space or more yard to put in a pool—so these home prices have gone up as well.

Q: How should a person prepare for an appraisal?

A: First impressions mean a lot, so if everything’s grimy, that gives a negative impression. Clean up, tidy up, and have your dogs put away. Also, trim your bushes and get debris away from the house; if we can’t get up to your house, we can’t measure it precisely.

If you have more questions about appraisals or real estate in general, feel free to reach out to us via phone or email. We would love to be your real estate resource.