A home appraisal is an unbiased, professional opinion of how much a home is worth. As HomeGo indicates, the appraisal can help set the asking price of a home or determine how much a lender is willing to let you borrow against it. Clearly, it’s important. What hurts a home appraisal? That’s a question that many homeowners ask when they’re hoping to sell, refinance, or use their home to secure a new line of credit. Knowing the answer can help you prepare your home so that it’s at its best when the appraiser visits.
What Hurts a Home Appraisal?
A home appraisal is an estimate of your home’s market value. It’s determined through a two-step process. First, a licensed appraiser casts a professional eye over your property to evaluate it. Then, they research similar properties that were recently sold in the area and use the information they find to estimate a value for your property. What is an appraiser looking for during their visit? What hurts a home appraisal? Is there anything you can do to help boost the appraisal?
What Is an Appraiser Looking For?
When an appraiser visits your home, what are they looking for? While the process may vary a little depending on your location and situation, most appraisers use a Uniform Residential Appraisal Report as they move through the home. According to UpHomes, they’ll look at factors like the following:
- The home’s general condition. The appraiser will note the home’s size and physical condition. This includes the materials that it’s constructed from and any concerns about its structural integrity or maintenance.
- The home’s location. Is the home in a suburban neighborhood, a rural area, or a thriving city? Is it near good schools, close to shops, or in an area prone to crime?
- The home’s age. Age is unpredictable in appraisals. Newer homes often appraiser for more than fixer-uppers, but historic homes can be desirable.
- The home’s design. Floor plans fall in and out of favor. Outdated designs may be harder to sell, which can lead to lower appraisals.
- The home’s exterior. The materials and condition of the roof, siding, guttering, foundation, and any porches or steps will be viewed carefully. The appraiser wants to check that they’re structurally sound because they protect the interior of the home from the elements.
- The home’s size. The appraiser considers the total amount of living space available. They’ll also check the number of bedrooms and bathrooms.
- The home’s interior. The materials and condition of the interior will be evaluated. Signs of neglect will be a concern.
Things That Might Hurt Your Home Appraisal
While there are some things that you can’t easily change about your property, including its age or location, there are factors that impact a home appraisal that you can shape. In some cases, not taking action can hurt your home appraisal. HomeLight offers a few examples:
- Deferred maintenance. When maintenance or repairs are left undone, problems often multiply. The expense of fixing them generally goes up as well. As a result, even small signs of neglect can have a big impact on your home appraisal.
- Undesirable finishes. Finishes and fixtures that appeal to limited tastes are problematic They may be high-quality or luxury items, but if they are going to make it harder to find a buyer, they can negatively impact your appraisal.
Things That Might Help Your Home Appraisal
What helps a home appraisal? As UpNest reports, putting in a little effort in these areas could raise the value of your appraisal:
- Curb appeal. Appraisers know that curb appeal impacts buyers. They’re also watching for any sign of neglect, so make a strong first impression by delivering fantastic curb appeal with a beautifully tended lawn and a fresh, crisp front door and entranceway.
- Recent improvements. Recent improvements can boost an appraisal. Have copies of receipts, permits, and other paperwork waiting in a folder for the appraiser to make their job easier.
- Maintenance. Regular maintenance is a must if a home is going to remain in top condition. Appraisers are wary of even small signs of neglect because they can indicate a pattern, so take care to bring your maintenance matters up to date.
- Condition of appliances and systems. A thorough cleaning of appliances and systems gives you a chance to correct any minor issues and reinforces the impression that they’ve been maintained well.