What Home Appraisers Look For

The recent sagging housing market has homeowners looking for ways to maximize their home and get the highest appraisal possible when they refinance, whether they need equity from their home or want a lower mortgage payment.

Here’s some quick tips for your unique house plans and a to do list to review prior to setting up the appointment for an appraisal.

1. An appraiser will check all rooms throughout your home for damage that could affect the overall value, so scope out your entire home for anything that needs fixing.

2. An appraiser will verify any upgrades if you choose to provide a list of these upon their arrival. Creating a thorough list with all the upgrades, additions and special features will make it easier for the appraiser to remember these once they have left your home.

3. Appraisers note all permanent features to a home that will affect value. For example, built-in appliances in the kitchen. Any removable appliance is not included in the appraised value.

4. Appraisers will check the basement for upgrades and finishing, because an updated finished basement can increase a property’s value, but they are never included in the total square footage.

5. Appraisers always check the furnace and air-conditioning units making sure they exist and are in good working order.

6. Appraisers also verify the number of bedrooms in a home. A bedroom is defined as a room with at least one closet and one window. So, never turn a bedroom into a den or merge two bedrooms into one unless you have four or more bedrooms to begin with in your home.

7. Appraisers will appreciate a home that doesn’t have cracks in the walls, or unfinished remodeling projects like painting half completed. In fact, don’t even begin a project you will not have time to finish in your home before an appraisal; it can negatively affect your home’s value.

8. Appraisers also take photos of the front and the back of the home. Then, they will measure all land area on the property.

9. Appraisers make sure you have GFI outlets within six feet of all water sources. This means all sinks in your kitchen and bathrooms need this type of outlet.

10. Appraisers look in your attic for adequate insulation. Also, adding an attic fan is a nice touch since it will show off a well maintained home.

11. If your home was built prior to 1978, then it is wise to check for peeling paint. Paint used in homes before 1978 had lead in it. But, do not sand any peeling surfaces in a home of this age, just prime and paint. It is unhealthy to sand the paint because it causes paint particles to become airborne.

12. Appraisers check the home’s roof and make sure it is in good shape. Roofs over 10 years old can affect a home’s value.

13. Your home’s exterior will make a difference in the value of your home. Brick is superior to vinyl siding, for instance. And, never cover a brick home with siding. It will greatly affect its value.

14. Decks are factored into an appraisers report as well as any storage buildings on the property. If you want the best appraisal possible, use pressure treated decking materials. Covered porches are also factored into an appraisal. If your deck or covered porch needs to be stained, then do so before an appraisal.

15. If you are able to enclose a porch or add extra square footage to your home, then do it! House plans with porches can add value to your home. Making a porch into a sunroom and adding heating and air-conditioning can add as much as $25,000 to your home’s value.

16. When a half bath is added to a home, it increases the value. There never seems to be enough bathrooms in most homes today.

17. Two-car garages carry more weight than a one-car garage, but what’s even better is if you have the space, convert your garage into more square footage for your home.

If you carry out the tips listed above and open house plans to a wider range of ideas, you will thank yourself after the appraisal. Being a diligent homeowner is hard work at times, but taking pride in keeping your home in its best condition will be apparent when it’s time for an appraisal.