Top 7 Surprises That Hurts Home Appraisals

Do home appraisers look in closets? How about the garage? It can be nerve wracking to prepare for a home appraisal — knowing that the price they set will largely determine how much you can sell your home for — and you may be wondering just how thorough a home inspection will be. Read more to see what affects home appraisals.

Home Appraisal: What To Expect

Home Appraisal What To Expect

An appraisal is completed by an unbiased, certified, professional who uses several different factors to determine your home value. Appraisals are an important part of the home selling process as they help set the asking price for the home and help the bank determine how much loan they will offer to potential buyers. An appraiser will visit your home in person and make a visual inspection of your home inside and out. They are filling out an appraisals report which includes information like:

  • Age of home
  • Quality and materials in the roof
  • Number of Bed/Bath and stories
  • Square footage (if you see them with a tape measure, this is why)
  • The quality of the foundation
  • Type of neighborhood
  • Curb appeal and parking situation (including garage)
  • What the home is made of including floor and walls
  • The current housing market
  • Basement and attic (finished, usable space or not)

With this information they use comparable sales in your area and determine an appraisal price for the home.

Do Appraisers Look in Closets?

Do Appraisers Look in Closets?

So how nosy does an appraiser get? Will they open closet doors? Yes, they probably will– though not to see how tidy you are. An appraiser might need to see how big a closet is and measure the area to include in the floor space. If you have a messy closet space or you are tempted to shove and hide some items in the closet to get it out of the way while the appraiser is visiting then think again and prepare that space so you aren’t embarrassed by what might fall out during an appraisal.

Do Appraisers Look in Garages?

Yes, an appraiser will look in the garage. They need to determine the space (how many cars it can hold) and include it in the official appraisal. While the garage isn’t usually the most show-worthy part of your home just keep in mind that an appraiser will be checking the function of the space — is the concrete cracked, does the garage door work, etc.

Do Appraisers Look in Cupboards?

Not necessarily. Cupboard space doesn’t equate for much in a home appraisal. If they cupboards are about to fall off the walls then that might lead to further inspection, but otherwise the contents of your cupboards are for your eyes only.

Does a Messy House Affect a Home Appraisal?

Does a Messy House Affect a Home Appraisal?

While an appraiser isn’t supposed to take in the cleanliness of the home as a factor in the appraisal, it is definitely possible for junk, odor, visible dirt and other messes to unconsciously bias the appraiser and not in a good way. A messy home can be a red flag that the home isn’t well cared for and it could encourage the appraiser to look more closely to see what the mess could be hiding. Do yourself a favor and deep clean the home before an appraiser visits so you don’t negatively affect your home appraisal.

Do Appraisers Look Under Sinks?

Yes, you can expect a home appraisal to check under the sink to make sure there isn’t any water damage or problems hiding. Don’t stress about the storage of bags and dish soaps but do make sure the area is clean and accessible.

Do Unfinished Projects Affect Home Appraisals?

Unfinished projects, we’ve all got them, but do they hurt a home appraisal? Well, the answer is, it depends. If you have major renovations that are pending — such as a half finished basement or a missing tub in a bathroom, then yes, that can affect the final appraisal price of your home. Keep in mind that most people aren’t looking to flip a property or move in and be saddled with months of projects, your home will be much more attractive if all the major projects are complete and the return on investment of the project will usually pay off when you sell the home.

Home Appraisal Do’s and Don’ts:

Home Appraisal Do's and Don'ts

Do deep clean.

Having a home free of clutter and messes will help the appraiser do their job quickly and efficiently. Don’t give them a reason to linger or wonder if water damage is actually what’s hiding behind a pile in the corner. Home appraisers often take photos so prepare your home as if you’ll be showing your home and you’ll have nothing to worry (or be embarrassed) about.

Do finish noticeable projects.

If you have half finished house projects that call attention then take a moment to finish them before the appraisal. Don’t sweat the small stuff that really doesn’t matter like dust on a ceiling fan or a broken couch but do pay attention to the half-painted bedroom or the missing cupboard doors.

Do itemize and list money amounts for any upgrades you’ve done on the home.

There is nothing wrong with making sure the appraiser knows about any upgrades or fixes you’ve done on the home while living there. Give the appraiser an itemized list with the money amounts, there is no guarantee it will positively affect the appraisal but it doesn’t hurt. It’s always good for the appraiser to know if you paid for a top-of-the-line furnace or installed a hot tub that will be staying with the home.

Don’t talk down your house to the appraiser.

If the appraiser asks questions keep your answers simple — if they ask about the roof don’t tell them about the leak you had to fix last year. The appraiser will do their own due diligence to determine the state of the home and any comments you might make could actually give a negative impression of your home. Keep it simple and keep it positive.

Don’t forget to tidy the yard.

Curb appeal does matter to a home buyer and it matters to a home appraiser. They’ll be looking at the state of the home from the outside as well as the inside so don’t forget to make sure the yard is looking it’s best.

If  Your Home Appraisal Comes Back Low, What Can You Do?

Appraisals aren’t an exact science so if your appraisal comes back much lower than you expected you can reach out to the appraiser to get a copy. See if you spot any mistakes and potentially petition the appraiser to reconsider if you’ve spotted problems with their work. It is possible that there are just too many factors that hurt your home appraisal — bad foundation, roof or broken air and heating systems will all cause it to take a hit. If you know your home has some issues and you can’t afford to tackle them before selling then it might be in your best interest to skip the stress, time and money involved with getting your home appraised and instead seek out a non-traditional home buyer. Gary Buys Houses is a trusted home buying company in Utah and Gary specializes helping people in tricky selling situations to quickly and easily sell their homes for cash, no appraisal needed. Contact Gary today and get an offer on your home.

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