Home appraisal can be a way to update the estimation of your home’s value, which can end up paying big dividends in both the short term and the long term. If you are interested in scheduling an appraisal, or are curious about what one might look like, this guide is for you.
What is a home appraisal?
Home appraisal is not the same thing as a home inspection. An appraisal is a process by which a licensed appraiser comes to your home, inspects and researches the property to provide an estimate of the home’s value.
Why appraise a home?
Appraisal can be done for several reasons. First, appraisal is often required by to insurers provide insurance quotes for the home itself. Second, if you’re looking to sell your home or property, appraisal helps give the best estimate of what you might be able to sell the home for.
If you’re looking for more ways to raise your home value, you can find more information by checking out our blogs.
What do appraisers look at?
Appraisers look at a number of factors, but we’ll focus on home and property condition, quality, size, number of rooms/amenities, finishing features, and the home’s location.
Next up, home quality, determined by This price can vary, and is often dependent on other factors. However, these trends can be very locally specific.
Appraisers evaluate home condition using a number of categories. Appraisers will look at the overall maintenance over time, damages the home has experienced, and repairs that have been done to it.
In the interior, that means looking at cleanliness, holes, leaks, cracks, mold, and other types of damage and signs of wear.
For the exterior, things like curb appeal, paint, fencing, gardening, the roof, the foundation, and cracks and leaks are evaluated as well. Turf increases a home’s value because it always looks neat and tidy, and it requires minimum effort to keep in good condition.
In addition to condition, an appraiser will look to see if your home has good “bones,” or a level of quality outside of its condition and appearance. This includes looking at:
- Wiring and electrical
- Plumbing and sanitation
High quality construction is important to make a home last. If a home was not constructed with high quality materials, or designed without its longevity and value in mind, the home will not retain its value as well if it had.
In addition to the quality of the house, they will look at the quality of the yard. One of the best investments that increase the quality and value of a home’s curb appeal is artificial turf. Turf landscaping is desirable because it’s low-maintenance and attractive all year long.
Age of the Structure
The age of a home directly correlates with quality and condition. The older a home is the more wear and tear it’s seen and the greater the possibility of poorly done repairs and upgrades.
Size of the Property
The size of the home is another important factor in an appraisal, and not just the size of the home itself. Appraisers will look at the size of the home lot, as well as the relative size of the home interior, including storage areas and the garage. Size and usable space is a very important element to consider, as a bigger home positively affects valuation. Usually, a home’s value is roughly estimated in price per square foot, and the sales price divided by the footage of the home.
Numbers are everything in an appraisal. Number of bedrooms, bathrooms, closets, fireplaces, and other amenities are all major factors in determining value. Liveable space is given priority— bedrooms and bathrooms are the most highly valued, and the more of these a home offers, the better.
Appraisers often examine the finished features of a home. This can be a wide range of amenities, including renovations and updates, but most often includes:
- Granite countertops
- Marble tile
- Hardwood floors
- Backyard artificial turf putting range
- New appliances
In recent years, a home’s carbon footprint has become a factor that affects its value. As environmental awareness has increased and conservation has become more of a priority for homeowners, the demand for more energy efficient homes has increased, and so has their value. Green features that increase home value include:
- Energy/water saving appliances
- Solar panels
- Good insulation
- Recycling accessibility
- Artificial turf lawns
Some people are surprised to see artificial turf lawns listed as a feature that can increase the environmental-friendliness of a home. You can read about the water-saving benefits of turf and how it’s beneficial for both the environment and your wallet.
Neighborhood (location, location, location)
Home value is not only determined by the home itself, appraisers also look at its location and the surrounding neighborhoods. This includes looking at what is known in the real estate business as “comps”, which are comparable homes within the area that sold recently.
For a home to be considered a comparable property, it must meet the following criteria:
- The size of home is within 20%
- The location is within one mile
- The home was sold within the last 90 days
Appraisers also consider location in terms of proximity to amenities. Nearby parks, schools, transportation opportunities, and shopping are examples of amenities, which are a big part of what makes a neighborhood valuable.
While a home location might be convenient for you, the owner, the value of a location is not entirely defined by you. When appraisers look at a home, they check out the employment opportunities in the area, quality of local schools, and the proximity to various amenities, like shopping, restaurants, theatres, and more. This is why some homes that look very nice on their surface are valued lower, as they are in what is perceived to be a less valuable neighborhood.
How to Prepare for an Appraisal
With the above considerations in mind, here are areas of a home to consider and ways to get the highest appraisal value you can.
These are small ways to prepare for an upcoming appraisal, but it’s important to routinely maintain a home and address larger problems and repairs as they crop up to help keep the home from falling into a state of disrepair. You want to make sure that the yard is well managed, as well as keeping the exterior in good shape. Don’t forget to check for:
- Roof or foundation damage
- Cracks in the driveway, walkway, steps
- Water damage
- Siding and gutter damaged
As far as the interior goes, cleanliness is the name of the game. Clean every nook and cranny, you want to make sure that there’s no mold, stains, bad smells, or potential trash anywhere.
Clean floors, windows, walls, grout, mirrors, carpets, over/around/behind things, and dust every surface.
Remove clutter, organize closets, arrange furniture, put away knick knacks, and put excess stuff on shelves or in drawers away.
Ensuring that the home has had all of the small repairs possible can make a difference in an appraisal, as the appraiser will be looking critically at your home, meaning that they might think a small problem is indicative of something larger. Make sure to patch and repair:
- Patch drywall holes
- Fix peeling paint
- Fix leaky faucets
- Unclog drains
- Unjam doors and drawers
- Address exposed floorboards
- Secure loose handrails
- Trim bushes and trees
- Water lawn and flowers beds
- Remove weeds, leaves, and debris
Make Sure Everything is Operational & in good Working Order
This means checking every square inch of the home, including light switches, outlets, fans, vents, heating, air conditioning, appliances, faucets, garage doors, and anything with electrical or that performs a function in daily life.
How to Prepare: The Day of Appraisal
On the day of appraisal, you want to make it as sweat free for the appraiser as possible. The appraiser’s job is to research and investigate, so put yourself in that mindset as well, and do a little research.
Have all the Relevant Documentation Ready
Appraisers want to know all about the property to be able to accurately determine its value, which includes evaluating its history and future expenses.
Relevant documents an appraiser may want include:
- Tax documents
- Proof of paying HOA fees
- Documentation of major repairs and upgrades like permits for expansions or additional structures.
- Receipts for major repairs or upgrades like new appliances or flooring.
Preparing information from your own research can be helpful as well, including info on nearby schools, amenities, transportation, and future developments.
Make the Property Accessible to the Appraiser
In addition to making sure the home is clean and in good condition, make sure all parts of the house are readily accessible, from the basement to the attic. Secure pets by removing them from the home, or place them somewhere where they will not interfere with the inspection.
Increasing the Value of Your Home
If you recently had an appraisal, but weren’t too happy with the results, there are a couple things you can do to help increase the value of a home, and be ready to dazzle a future appraiser. An artificial turf lawn is a great way to increase the value of your home and attract potential buyers .
Talk with one of our customer service representatives to learn more, or start browsing our inventory of green and lush landscaping turf that will make your lawn the envy of the neighborhood.