A lot goes into selling a home, but one of the first questions many owners ask themselves before placing their home on the market is how to price their property. One of the most effective ways owners can set a price is by having their home appraised to determine the market value of their property. Hiring a professional to appraise a home can help owners avoid pricing their houses too high or low, and turning off potential buyers.

Find a qualified appraiser

Homeowners can contact an appraisal management company to send out a qualified appraiser to assess the value of a home. However, sellers should specify that they prefer an appraiser who is familiar with the local market, according to AOL Real Estate. While a professional will focus primarily on the home, its features and any flaws or needed repairs it needs, it can be to a homeowner’s benefit to have an appraiser that knows what the homes in a town or surrounding neighborhood are going for.

Home values can vary greatly by community, so homeowners should take the appraiser’s opinion as well as the market forces in their particular neighborhood into consideration when setting a fair price. A real estate agent can guide you through this process.

Prepare in advance for the appraiser’s visit

The appraisal process is similar to that of a home inspection. The professional will need access to every area of the home to pinpoint high-value features, potential issues with the house and other factors that will drive its overall value. For this reason, it’s important to declutter the home and make it easier for a professional to work.

In addition, curb appeal might affect an appraiser’s assessment, so it’s also important to tend to the outside of the home. A well-manicured lawn, trimmed trees and bushes and a flower bed that has been well cared for can have the same positive effect on an appraisal as it does for potential buyers. In addition, it can be helpful to have a list of recent improvements, upgrades, renovations and other updates that have been made to the home since it was first purchased.

Lastly, keep in mind that an appraiser’s assessment should be used a guide for setting the home price, not a concrete figure. In special circumstances, home sellers may ask for a higher or lower price, and it’s important that they take a variety of factors into consideration when putting their home on the market.