Boost Your Appraisal

5 Tips for Increasing Your Home Appraisal Value

By SaleCore

When selling your home, a very important part of the process includes a home appraisal. The ultimate goal of the appraisal is to place your home on the market based on a fair and comparable set of standards, but also to have it appraise at the highest dollar amount possible. There are a number of factors that will affect the end-value of your appraisal. As a homeowner, you cannot control such factors as the housing market, comparable sales in the area, and the age and location of your home. Many factors, however, are within your control and understanding these will help get you the most value, and avoid over- or underpricing your home. Aside from major renovations, home additions, and other expensive improvements, there are numerous other ways to boost your appraisal.

Homeowner painting wooden trim of outside window

1. Start with the Basics

A property that's been neglected and poorly maintained is always going to be worth less than a property that's been well-loved and cared for. Maintenance won’t boost the value of your property, but neglect could dip the value, making it difficult to sell for the price you are seeking. Re-painting walls, patching up blemishes, damaged trim, wall dings and scratches, and worn or damaged flooring will make the home appear meticulously cared for. Ensure that plumbing and lighting systems are working properly, all your outlets work, burnt-out light bulbs are replaced, and other issues like broken door handles or loose cabinet faces are taken care of.

Is your safety equipment working properly, including smoke alarms, carbon monoxide alarms, and home security alarms? The same is true for your home systems. How old is your water heater? Your furnace? When did your A/C last get a tune-up? Any outdated systems will lower the appraisal value of your home. Although these items can be costly to update, they often have a good return-on-investment (ROI).

Curbside view of beautifully landscaped front yard of home

2. Enhance Your Curb Appeal

This is your only chance to make a good first impression, and curb appeal is one of the biggest factors to consider. Having an inviting curb appeal refers to your yard and surrounding areas, as well as the exterior of your home. Go with an easy-to-maintain and clean landscape design that will appeal to most buyers. Mow the lawn, pull any weeds, trim up bushes and trees, add flowers for a pop of color, and add/upgrade outdoor lighting to illuminate your pathways. Stage the front porch/entryway with a couple of casual chairs and colorful throw pillows. In addition, having a spacious outdoor living area can also improve the value of your appraisal. Patios and decks create nice gathering spaces for relaxing and entertaining. Showcase these areas by keeping them well-maintained and aesthetically pleasing.

Unusual colors on the exterior of your home could decrease your value. Stay neutral in your color scheme, and if needed, apply a fresh coat of paint and replace/repaint your front door and shutters. When damaged or outdated, replacing the roof or siding, updating garage doors, installing high-quality windows or solar panels tend to increase value. Tuck away hoses, outdoor trash cans, and other potential eyesores.

Open concept kitchen and dining room staged for sale

3. Stage Your Home

It is your goal to showcase your home’s best attributes, including square footage and storage space. Be sure to store any items that can be distracting by decluttering every room and closet. This will make your home feel more spacious. And don’t hide your belongings in your closets, as your appraiser is looking for ample storage space and will check these areas. If necessary, move unneeded items into a storage unit. Well-placed accessories and carefully chosen furniture that work with the style of the home create a positive impression. Make sure the appraiser has access to any usable square footage like the attic, basement, or storage areas. Deep clean your home or hire a professional company to do this for you. While the cleanliness of your property will not determine its value, a spotless home allows for a thorough inspection and will resonate well with your appraiser.

Happy couple taking a break while admiring their home improvements

4. Make Improvements That Pay Off

When deciding which home improvements to make, it’s important to weigh what you are spending versus the value you’ll receive in return. Where renovating bathrooms and kitchens offer the highest return, there are many much smaller-scale projects you can do to add value. Some of the lowest-cost home improvements yield the highest ROI, and can elevate the perception of your home.

  • Painting is one of the easiest and least expensive improvements you can make. Neutral and light color schemes will brighten any room, make them appear larger, and appeal to most homebuyers.
  • Replacing outdated, dirty or dark blinds and drapes will refresh and brighten your rooms.
  • Adding mirrors create depth and interest to any living space, and help redirect sunlight throughout your home.
  • Updating light fixtures make a home look more spacious and desirable. Hang eye-catching light fixtures in one or two locations, for example, the foyer or entryway, improving the perceived value of your home and creating a great first impression.
  • Upgrading kitchen or bath faucets with more trendy and stylish options.
  • Upgrading kitchen or bath cabinets by applying a few coats of fresh white cabinet paint, or replacing the hinges and handles.
  • Swapping out old appliances for energy-efficient appliances; or white/black appliances with stainless steel.
  • Replacing your aging countertop with granite, if necessary, could also add value.
Homeowner reviewing stack of neatly organized paper records

5. Keep Organized Records

Document your home improvement projects by saving all receipts, recording the date and cost of each improvement, and taking before-and-after photographs. By staying organized, you can easily prove to an appraiser what you’ve done to improve and upgrade your home, and how much you spent. Also be sure to include documentation for any permits that were pulled as part of home improvement projects.

There’s no doubt that you can positively influence and even increase the home value for appraisal quite easily and with very little time or expense. And when the appraisal comes in at or above your asking price, you’ll be glad you spent the effort.

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