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Tips for Increasing Your Appraisal Value: An Interview with Edward Hadnott of Optimum Appraisals

By Edward Hadnott

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

My company is Optimum Appraisal Inc. We are a small residential appraisal company based in Homewood. I have been appraising for over 25 years. I was a real estate broker prior to entering the appraisal business. We have chosen to remain small. Most large appraisal companies have gone the AMC route.

What are some of the services your company provides?

We specialize in REO appraisals, Short sale appraisals, rehab loan appraisals, FHA and VA. We also do appraisals for tax appeals and other general appraisal assignments.

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

There is no magical list of influential areas. Obviously location, size, level of modernization, lot size, condition, etc. are the obvious areas of influence. There are many other factors. In todays market homes with issues are severely punished by the market.

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?

The little things are just that, little things. I try to focus on the steak, not the peas.

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?

There is very little anyone can do to persuade me. I can not speak for other appraisers. I just follow appraisal methodology to attain a reliable estimate of value. The home usually speaks for itself. Many realtors and owners try to influence me with statements and unreliable information.

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

99% of the time I am working in my area of expertise which is Cook County, Illinois. The research is ongoing. When new information comes in I store it in a digital folder so that when I am in the particular area I can use the information. That's why appraisers should stay in an area that they are knowledgeable.

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

The neighborhood is one of the most important aspects of appraising. However, the influences of the surrounding neighborhoods are also meaningful. Many times a property is close to a neighborhood boundary. So that the neighboring community may also be influential.

Where are some areas that if the homeowner just took some time to fix up it would drastically improve their home value?

Homeowner can improve the value of their home with some improvements. Paint is an obvious improvement that's cost effective. Basically I would suggest small updates like new floor covering, light landscaping, partial updating like refinishing an old bathtub, new vanity, new counter tops, foundation cracks, roofs, siding, etc.

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

The best way to contact Optimum Appraisal is via email:
Or via my website:

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