9 Things You Can Do to Improve Your Home’s Appraisal Value

How Much Is Your Home Worth?

You know how much you paid for your home, and you probably have a ballpark idea of how much your home is currently worth. But an appraiser might see things differently, and if you’re selling or refinancing, that can be a big problem.

Mortgage lenders rely on appraisals to assess the viability of loan and refinance applications; they have to protect their interests, after all. They don’t want to lend more than a property is worth on the open market. If they did, they could end up taking serious losses, were the borrower to default.

If you’re trying to sell your home, then you want to maximize your profits. And if you’re going to get your full asking price, you’ll need to convince the appraiser that your home is worth every penny. So how can you do that? Keep reading.

Maintenance First

Before turning your attention to aesthetic matters, make sure your home’s basic necessities are covered. The roof should be ship-shape. Have the plumbing, electrical, and HVAC systems inspected. If your house gets an A+ on all of the above, you’ll have more justification for your selling price.

If there are major issues, repairs may or may not be worth the extra time, expense, and effort, depending on your market, your timeframe, and other variables. But at the very least, you’ll have a better idea of your home’s true value.

Clean as a Whistle

Some home sellers only think about staging when they’re getting ready to open the home to potential buyers, but it may be worth doing a bit of staging for the appraiser as well. And overall cleanliness is one of the most crucial factors for a successful staging.

Even the most seasoned appraiser can’t help but be slightly swayed by a spotless home. Get into all of those nooks and crannies: wash the curtains, dust the armoire, give the hardwood floor a shiny polish, power-wash the siding, and get rid of any clutter. A simple cleanup could give you a substantial boost in home value.

The Power of Paint

Color affects human beings on a deep psychological level. Changing a room’s color can make it feel like a whole new space. When preparing your home for appraisal, make sure any surfaces that need a fresh coat of paint get one, and paint over any questionable or outdated color choices.

Show Your Work

Your appraiser might not notice all the upgrades you’ve made. Don't be afraid to dig your records and receipts out of the file cabinet so you can prove how much effort you’ve put into making your home the best it can be.

Curb Appeal

First impressions matter, even to appraisers. If your yard is out of control, trim back those hedges, get rid of those weeds, and mow that lawn. You may also want to consider planting some colorful perennials along the walkway or investing in some nice window boxes. However, don’t go overboard – not everyone has the time or desire to maintain a full-on botanical garden.

Update the Outdated

If you live in an older home, there’s a chance that some of your décor is getting a bit long in the tooth. Replace anything kitschy or deeply unfashionable, especially if most comparable homes in your neighborhood have been updated. If yours is the only home on the block that looks like it’s stuck in a time warp, it could really hurt your resale value.

Kitchen and Bath

Upgrades don’t always pay off when it comes to resale value, but if you’re going to do them, make sure you do the ones that offer the best ROI. Updated kitchens and bathrooms are high on many homebuyers’ wish lists, and in some markets, they may even pay for themselves.

Comparison Shop

Ideally, you’ll get an appraiser who’s intimately familiar with the real estate market in your area, but that’s not always the case. You’d be well advised to do your own research on recent comparable sales in your area. That way, if your appraiser zeroes in on recent sales that cast your home in an unfavorable light, you may be able to get them to reassess. 

Check for Errors in the Appraisal

Appraisers are trained professionals, but they’re only human, and people make mistakes. You can request a copy of the appraisal from the lender, to check for inaccuracies and oversights that may drag your home value down. If you feel your home as been appraised unfairly, you can appeal the appraisal with the lender.

Know Your Home’s Value

Whether you’re selling or refinancing your home, a favorable appraisal is worth its weight in gold. By following these tips, you can increase your odds of getting the money you need to make improvements, or getting every penny of your home’s true value. 

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