If you’re hoping to sell your home then odds are good that you are preparing for a home appraisal. Because lenders use a home appraisal to determine how much loan they will offer potential buyers it’s important to know what will hurt a home appraisal and what you can do to help.
What Is a Home Appraisal?
Because of federal regulation, lenders are required to hire independent appraisers for each new loan. Not to be confused with a Home Inspection where an inspector checks the build of the home to make sure everything is working correctly, the point of a Home Appraisal is to assess the value of the home. They use a combination of the condition of the home as well as the market trends to determine the lending price value of the home.
What to Expect at a Home Appraisal
A home appraiser does a lot of their work before they even get to your home by researching the prices of comparative homes sold recently in nearby neighborhoods. On the day of the home appraisal make sure you are prepared to show your home at it’s best for the home appraiser. Take note of any upgrades or new features such as a new furnace or roof that you can write up as a list for the home appraiser to take into consideration. Take the time to do the little things, like have a freshly mown lawn, open shades for light and a clean, nice smelling house.
What an Appraiser Looks at, Home Appraisal Factors:
- Year built
- How many stories
- What the floor and walls are made of
- Square footage
- What the roof is made of and how old it is
- Total Numbers of Bedrooms and Bathrooms
- Appliances, which ones are included in the home sale and their quality
- Type of neighborhood (rural, urban, suburban)
- Basement and attic features, especially if they are finished or not
- Outside features such as off-street parking, driveway, garage, etc.
- Current housing market
What Negatively Affects a Home Appraisal:
Bad Curb Appeal
Appraisers to look at how your home looks from the street because that first look is important to buyers. If your home has great curb appeal then it can already be perceived by potential buyers as worth more and will attract more buyers. Simple things like trim bushes, trees and grass and tidy flower beds go a long way in making a home look more inviting. If your home needs a new coat of paint or replacing old, outdated light fixtures then doing that before the home appraisal is a good idea so that bad curb appeal doesn’t hurt your home appraisal.
Unfinished Home Repairs
Unfortunately that unfinished basement or half painted garage don’t help your home appraisal. Any unfinished home repairs will affect the value of your home and determine the type of buyer your home will attract. On the flip side, if you’ve recently put in new features in the bathroom, kitchen or flooring then this can increase your appraised value so if you have the time or money to do those projects before the appraisal that can help increase your home value.
Unfortunately this is something you have no control over, yet your home location can negatively affect a home appraisal. A home appraisal will take the location into account before they even reach your home. If your neighborhood isn’t as nice as your home that’s going to hurt your appraisal (no one wants to be the fanciest house on the street!). The crime rate, proximity to schools and other amenities can all factor in to the appraisal.
Yet another factor that can either work for you or against you — but you can’t control it. The housing market is always changing, you could get a different appraisal from January of one year to January of the next. If you are able to wait out the market so that it plays in your favor when it comes time to sell then you’ll get more money out of your home. Often times, historically market conditions are at their peak in the springtime, so even waiting a season could be helpful.
A Home System Needs Replacing
Major home systems that are broken will negatively affect a home appraisal. A roof in need of replacing, siding in need of major repairs or a broken HVAC system will all have an impact on your appraisal price. If your home needs new plumbing or electric then you would be better off taking care of those issues before an inspection.
Does a Messy House Hurt an Appraisal?
While clutter and a messy house aren’t technically something that is looked for on a home appraisal, a messy home can indicate a home that isn’t taken care of. If you have a lot of clutter and piles that could be hiding rot or water damage then it makes the job harder for the home appraiser. You want to give the best impression possible during a home appraisal, a messy or dirty home can create a subconscious bias that your home isn’t in good shape or worth as much.
Structural damage such as cracks in the walls or flooring or foundation are red flags to a home appraiser. Oftentimes this type of damage is indicative of other issues in the home and can hurt your appraisal.
If Too Many Factors Hurt Your Home Appraisal, What are Your Options?
If you have one or more of the factors that negatively affect home appraisals then you already know that your home will be getting appraised for less than what you would probably like. Cleaning up a home, making expensive repairs or factors out of your control such as the market and location, can all make the home appraisal process a stressful experience for a home seller. If you’re looking for a simpler way to sell your home — as-is, no repairs needed — then you can consider a better way by selling to Gary Buys Houses. We buy homes with cash, no appraisal required — and no repairs, upgrades or extra work required either. We can give you an offer right away and close in as little as three days. If you need more time to get your belongings in order and move into a new home, we also offer a sell now, move later program. Let Gary Buys Houses take the stress out of selling your home and you’ll receive a quick, fair, cash offer without all the extra work and time.