Your Home’s Value: Why You Should Appraise / Re-Appraise and How to Increase Your Valuation

Your Home’s Value: Why You Should Appraise / Re-Appraise and How to Increase Your Valuation

What is the true value of your home? There are a few ways to determine what your home is worth. You can look at real estate sites like Zillow to see an estimate of your home’s value, or rely on your realtor to assess its worth. But these types of estimates may be biased and can leave room for over or underpredicting, which can be frustrating to the owner if the estimate falls short of their expectations. A Zestimate on Zillow for an off-the-market home, for example, can be off by 7.5% on average.

The best way to determine the true value of your home is with a professional, residential real estate appraisal which is a neutral evaluation and opinion of the value of your home. While a real estate agent may be motivated by procuring your listing or offer and earning a commission, a professional real estate appraiser will be impartial and will value your home with accuracy and fairness.

So, when do you need to have your home appraised? It’s common to have a valuation when you are planning to put your property on the market so that you know it’s fair market value. But there are many reasons to get your home appraised.

  • Selling Your Home. A seller may want a pre-listing appraisal to know the true value of the home before putting it on the market so that they can list it at an accurate price.
  • Purchasing a New Home. After you’ve purchased a new home, your bank or lender may order an appraisal to ensure the price of the home is accurate and that the property is worth the amount of the loan.
  • Refinancing Your Mortgage. Your bank or lender will order an appraisal to know whether the home’s value justifies the new loan amount when refinancing.
  • Collateral. If you seek a loan for renovations or businesses where you must put your home up as collateral, your lender may request a current home appraisal.
  • Tax Assesment. If you believe your home has decreased in value, you may want to have your home appraised if your property taxes are based on the value of your home.
  • Discontinuing Mortgage Insurance. An appraisal will be needed to show that you have enough equity in your home in order to remove PMI from your loan payment.
  • Divorce. In the unfortunate event of a divorce or separation, a home appraisal is common so that assets can be divided between the parties fairly.
  • Bankruptcy. When filing for bankruptcy, a bank may require an appraisal to determine the value of your assets.
  • Estate Probate. In the unfortunate event of a property owner’s death, a certified appraisal will be needed for tax purposes, and any division of the estate to its beneficiaries.

Now that you know if you need a home appraisal, you may also want to know what to expect and how to increase your home’s worth before it is appraised. It will be helpful to know what an appraiser will be looking for. They will consider many factors, including current housing rates, the value of comparable homes in your area, and details of your home, such as square footage, amenities, and overall property condition.

Some of these factors may be out of your control, but there are some steps you can take to get your home ready for an appraisal that won’t take a ton of time or cost you a ton of money.

Curb Appeal. First impressions matter, and the exterior of your home will be the first thing an appraiser will see. Cleaning up your yard can go a long way. Trim landscaping and grass, clean up driveways, garages, and porches. Even simply adding numbers to your home or mailbox to can help improve your curb appeal.

Declutter Your Space. An appraiser will look at your home, not your personal items, but a clean and tidy home will give the impression that the house has been well-maintained. While you don’t need to redecorate your entire home, a deep clean and “staging” your home will help create a desirable tone. You may even want to put away some furniture to declutter and update lighting or window treatments.

Minor Repairs. Make any minor repairs that you’ve been neglecting to the exterior and interior, like patching walls,  touching up paint, or repairing damage to siding or roofs. You may want to consider power-washing the exterior as well. In some instances, a fresh coat of paint may be necessary (neutral colors are always a great option).

When getting ready to sell your home, it’s not the best time to make significant renovations because you won’t likely get a hundred percent return on your investment. But be sure to let the appraiser know of any recent updates that you have made to your home, such as a new furnace or roof. It also doesn’t hurt to point out recent sales in the neighborhood or local amenities such as a desirable school system.

A professional and certified appraiser can help you determine the true value of your home. At RMS Title & Appraisal, our standards go above and beyond the Uniform Standards of Professional Appraisal Practice. Communication and transparency are of utmost importance to us and we pride ourselves on being responsive, reliable and trustworth so we meet your expectations.

Do you need valuation help? Our professionals at RMS Title & Appraisal can help you get an accurate appraisal and answer any questions you may have. Contact us to speak directly with one of our dedicated agents!

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Getting It Sold: 3 Tips for Staging Your Listing During the Holidays

To sell or not to sell during the holidays, that is the question! While spring is typically regarded as the ideal time to sell a house, holiday season real estate can also reap some surprising rewards. For example, Investopedia suggests selling your home during the holidays because the inventory is generally low, so the buyers who are looking are serious about purchasing. Homebuyers might be especially eager now since, after two long years of inflated prices in New Jersey, it was recently reported by that new listings are down in twelve counties, and median home sale prices are down month-over-month in sixteen New Jersey counties.

If you’re not willing to wait and are motivated about listing your home, then there are two holiday listing rules of thumb to consider. Firstly, you must get an appraisal to ensure the most accurate valuation for your property. Holiday buyers are determined during this time of year, so having a pre-listing appraisal done by a trusted appraiser will help streamline the listing process.

The second consideration is to decorate your property for the holidays to help incite that festive feeling in potential buyers. Decorating can be a great way to make the space feel more comfortable for buyers. However, it’s important to remember that there’s a fine line between tasteful decor and a holiday ambush. So, today we’re detailing our top tips for staging your listing during the holidays.

  1. Keep It Cozy
    Create a sense of warmth by lighting festive-smelling candles, or have a fire roaring in the background (when possible) while you showcase your listing. Simple touches like these can curate an effortless, cozy atmosphere and make buyers feel comfortable in the space.
  2. Keep It Simple
    Too many holiday decorations can make a space feel cluttered. It’s also important to remember that not everyone celebrates the same holidays, so going overboard in any one area might put buyers off. Keep the decor minimalistic with simple winter foliage like eucalyptus, evergreens, and pine cones. You can also utilize religious-neutral colors like silver and white as a slight touch.
  3. Keep It Bright
    While multi-color festive lights may remind you of spending the holidays at Grandma’s, they can distract your buyers. So opt for white or yellow lights this year and only highlight specific parts of the home or structure that emphasize the overall look without getting in the way.

Now that you know the best ways to incorporate subtle decor, it’s time to decorate! 

Yet, before you deck the halls, you may need a skilled appraisal partner to provide an accurate valuation of your listing so you can maximize the property’s worth. If you need a fast appraisal this holiday season, our RMS Title & Appraisal team can help! We provide timely and trusted appraisals for residential properties, even during this busy time of the year. 

Contact our team to schedule your listing’s appraisal today!

Enhanced Owner’s Title Insurance Through RMS Title & Appraisal

Title insurance helps protect your assets long-term. If you’ve recently acquired property, the transfers of ownership throughout the years might have put your property at significant risk. Bankruptcy, foreclosure, and inheritance are all examples of life events that could have happened with your property and instances where potential errors could have occurred during the transfer process.

While title insurance is vital to protecting yourself and your property, most standard policies only cover unforeseen losses before the policy date. Enhanced owner’s title insurance takes your protection a step further by protecting your assets before and after the policy date and offering more robust coverage. This is important because mistakes can often arise during the buying and transfer process and throughout the ownership journey, making owners liable and putting them at risk.

Enhanced owner’s title insurance with RMS Title & Appraisal can put your mind at ease by offering the coverage of a standard policy as well as additional benefits to protect your property that include, but are not limited to:

  • Protection against post-policy forgery or impersonation, leaving you with no record title or with mortgages on your home that you did not make.
  • Protection against neighbors building encroaching structures onto your land after you purchase it.
  • Full coverage if anyone records a deed, mortgage, or other documents that describe your property. Or creating a cloud on your title and causing you to incur legal expenses and the time uncertainty and inconvenience of correcting it.
  • Coverage for lack of physical access for both vehicles and pedestrians to and from your home.
  • Protections against subdivision law violations of the previous owner.
  • Coverage for building permit violations of previous owners and the peace of mind of knowing if any parts of your home were built without permits at any point.
  • Protection against zoning law or regulation violations of previous owners, which you would be forced to remedy or remove.
  • Coverage for encroachments of your existing structure onto a neighboring property or easements affecting your home.
  • Protection against residence with the address shown in the policy not being located on the land described.
  • A 10% increase in policy amount for the first five years, increasing coverage to 150% of the original policy amount.

An enhanced owner’s title insurance policy is the best available to protect your ownership rights and can make your property more marketable in the future. In this way, when you opt for more coverage with this policy, you insure yourself as both a buyer and a seller and are granted more peace of mind no matter where your ownership journey takes you.

Are you interested in learning more about how RMS Title & Appraisal can protect you and your property through an enhanced title insurance policy? Contact us for more information and to speak directly with one of our dedicated agents!

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Local Title & Appraisal Company Finds Community Purpose Through Jar of Hope Charitable Organization

RMS Title & Appraisal Inspired by the Story of A Young, Local Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy Sufferer

LAKEHURST, N.J. (September 22, 2022) – Would you do ten push-ups for $10 to save a young boy’s life? For Rich Domanico, President and CEO of RMS Title & Appraisal, this was a simple task when he met James Raffone, founder of JAR of Hope, six years ago. The challenge was to benefit Raffone’s son Jamesy, who was diagnosed with Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy (DMD) in 2013. While ten push-ups seemed easy for someone like Domanico, for Jamesy, it was nearly impossible. Jamesy’s condition causes his body to degenerate over time. Without a cure for DMD, by age twelve, he will be in a wheelchair; by fifteen, a person with quadriplegia; by eighteen, he will not be able to breathe on his own and will likely live on a ventilator. The way Domanico saw it, the only way DMD would beat Jamesy was if we failed him.

That day was life-changing for Domanico and ignited his determination to dedicate his resources to Jamesy and the JAR of Hope, the organization Jamesy’s father founded in his honor to spread awareness and raise funds to support families of DMD and fund research toward finding a cure. JAR of Hope intends to find a cure not just for Jamesy but for many other boys worldwide who are collectively suffering.

Domanico quickly put his passion for the cause to work and promised to match whatever was raised through the push-up challenge. But he didn’t stop there; he also pledged $1 for each appraisal through his RMS Title & Appraisal agency to donate to the cause. Following the challenge, Domanico knew he wanted to be more involved and quickly became a board member and eventually the Chairman of the Board to support the mission of JAR of Hope even further.

DMD is a genetic disorder characterized by progressive muscle degeneration. It primarily affects boys, most of whom must use wheelchairs by age twelve. Unfortunately, many do not survive past their mid-twenties. Duchenne affects 300,000 boys worldwide; and 20,000 children in the United States alone. Children with DMD are robbed of their childhood as their ability to run and play slowly deteriorates, and even the simplest movement is painful. There is a need for knowledge, volunteerism, and funding surrounding DMD and its research. While most non-profit work comes from situations where individuals have unfortunately succumbed to the disease, this effort changes the narrative by working to save Jamesy and many other boys with the same condition before time runs out.

Since 2010, a team at the University of Florida (UF) has been studying and developing sensitive MRI biomarkers that detect muscle damage and inflammation in dystrophic muscles, even in the early stages of the disease. This past January, they began using innovative methods to measure changes in muscle. Through their research, the team found that after treatment with an investigational gene therapy, three young boys with Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy had considerably lower muscle fat infiltration than boys receiving standard treatment. This finding is a breakthrough because it will help determine if certain therapeutics can be effective for some DMD patients. In February, a new $6.25 million grant will allow UF to expand its ten-year study of muscular dystrophy disease progression. However, there is still insufficient time, talent, and funding to make the necessary strides.

On Friday, August 12th, JAR of Hope hosted their 2022 Golf Outing at Mercer Oaks Golf Course. Domanico and the RMS Title & Appraisal team contributed to a $13,000 raise against a $78,794 profitability for the event that will aid in supporting the new clinical study. Amongst a hundred of his peers, Domanico was honored for being a sponsor and his commitment to the cause with a plaque and a standing ovation.

He stated, “I don’t do this for the recognition or for my business; I just want to help Jamesy and his family find a cure so he can live out a normal life. My ask is that if you have time, talent, or funding to give – join us in this effort to support the research to find a cure.”

Through strength, courage, hope, and love, it is the selflessness of many who live by the motto, “Together, we can find a cure.” It takes millions of dollars to find a cure, but with your help, JAR of Hope will continue to support a team of research scientists and doctors dedicated to eliminating Duchenne. The organization continues to receive time, talent, and financial contributions toward clinical studies and also provides support for these boys and their families because every day and every dollar counts. With organized fundraising events and support from you, we can make the dream and reality by finding a cure for DMD. To donate time, intelligence or funding, please visit or Venmo @JARofHope.

Rich Domanico (pictured right) proudly showcases a plaque he received on August 12th, 2022, for his sponsorship of the 2022 JAR of Hope 2022 Golf Outing at Mercer Oaks Golf Course. JAR of Hope is an organization founded by James Raffone (pictured left) in honor of his son, Jamesy Raffone (also pictured left), which aims to spread awareness and raise funds to support families of Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy (DMD) and fund research toward finding a cure for Jamesy and other boys worldwide with the same condition.