By Beau Peters
Whether you’re buying oming – unless you’re a professional. When it comes to log homes and cabins, that process takes on even more factors to consider.
What’s so different about appraising a log home or cabin? First, appraisals are often largely based on similar properties. While the beauty of a cabin is its uniqueness, that can make it hard for an appraiser to have something to compare it to.
Additionally, they might have a hard time finding other reference points for any “special features” a cabin has. That could include things like a wood-burning stove or even the materials used to build it.
But, just because cabins and log homes are different doesn’t mean the appraisal process is impossible.
If you’re interested in selling your current cabin or log home or you’re in the market for one, let’s cover a few things you should know about how they are appraised and what should be considered a “red flag” as a buyer.
Why are Cabins Different?
If you plan on selling your log home, you need to get it appraised. But, as we touched on above, it’s not always that simple. Cabins and log homes are different because they tend to focus on different, very specialized needs. They’re usually far away from other homes. They’re often custom-built. They may have some upgrades and some things that haven’t been changed in decades.
You can make the appraisal process easier on yourself by hiring the right person for the job. If you’re not sure how to find an appraiser you’re sure will work with you throughout the whole process, keep these tips in mind:
- Don’t automatically use a real estate agent’s referral
- Look for trusted candidates with plenty of online reviews
- Favor those with credentials
- Look for someone trained in appraising cabins
If you’re able to find someone who specializes or works closely with log homes, that might be your best solution. They’ll know exactly what to look for and how much things are worth. Be prepared to get a lower number than you might have expected. But, consider that number a jumping-off point. You can make upgrades and changes from that point to attract more buyers and boost your home’s value.
How to Increase the Value of Your Appraisal
If you’re trying to sell your cabin, you can offset some of the headaches of an appraisal by consciously increasing the value of your home. Be sure you have documentation of every upgrade and custom feature in your home. You might have initially made additions or upgrades when you moved in, especially if you’ve been using it as a getaway home, and keeping a list of these contributes to the appraisal value of the home.
But, selling it to appeal to someone else is different. Think about curb appeal and what is going to make buyers interested in offering your asking price (or more!).
Some of the best ways to boost the value of your appraisal include:
- Maintaining your landscaping
- Powerwash/replace the siding of a cabin
- Adding outdoor lights
- Renovating the kitchen
- Add bedrooms/bathrooms
If your cabin or log home is in a rural area, it’s also a good idea to make sure everything is up-to-date and well-maintained. People like the idea of being away from the noise of a city. But, not at the expense of an outdated cabin. Upgrade things like your HVAC system and insulation. Take care of any plumbing issues to ensure there aren’t any leaks or hot water problems. Those upgrades will be included in your appraisal, and potential buyers will feel more confident in making an offer.
What to Look Out for as a Buyer
If you’re in the market for a cabin or log home, it’s just as crucial to know what to look for in an appraisal. It’s an appraiser’s job to report on the overall condition of a home, including the “bones.”
They’ll assess each room and look at everything from light fixtures to the quality of the interior paint. That’s why it’s so important to make sure you read every detail of their report before you buy. If the appraisal seems low, chances are there’s a good reason.
Keep in mind that the sellers receive a copy of their appraisal. So, they should be taking every opportunity to boost their home value. Whether they up their curb appeal or make necessary interior upgrades, don’t be afraid to ask questions and do your research when it comes to things that have changed.
Common red flags on an appraisal report include evidence of water damage, structural issues, or problems with the electrical or plumbing systems that could cause a headache later on. When you know what to look for and understand that the appraisal needs to be in line with the selling price, you can make a more informed decision.
Getting a log home or cabin accurately appraised doesn’t have to be difficult. Embrace the differences. Know what you’re getting into, whether you plan on selling or buying. The more you know about the appraisal process, the easier it will be to feel confident in your choices.
Beau Peters is a creative professional with a lifetime of experience in service and care. As a manager, he’s learned a slew of tricks of the trade that he enjoys sharing with others who have the same passion and dedication that he brings to his work. When he is not writing, he enjoys reading and trying new things.