Elaine Abercrombie

Elaine Abercrombie (Roe Anne White photo)

With all of the changes enacted in real estate and related industries, the appraisal process has not been immune. Lenders were found to be pressuring the appraisers they hired, so now banks largely must work with independent appraisers — and they’re finding themselves buried in a backlog of jobs.

To help ease their large workloads, appraisers will gladly consider any information you can provide about your property, and will hopefully generate a more accurate report.

As a seller, list the best features of your home, including recent improvements, professional landscaping or even benefits of your location (such as access to public transportation and schools).

While you won’t necessarily be graded for your housekeeping skills, appraisers do pay attention to the very appearance and cleanliness of your home. You can positively affect your appraisal’s outcome if your lawn is mowed or raked, your windows sparkle and your closets look spacious.

Appraisers are practically looking through the buyer’s eyes, so pretend you’re preparing for an open house before their arrival.

Finally, be sure to request a copy of the report, because lenders are required to provide it — but you’ve got to ask.

If you find any errors in important features, such as square footage or property description, contact the appraiser directly. Let the lender and your Realtor know, too, but understand that they can’t take any direct action under the new rules.

Elaine Abercrombie, a broker with Abercrombie Fine Homes at Village Properties, is president of the Santa Barbara Association of Realtors. She can be contacted at elaine@elaineabercrombie.com.