What Affects a House Appraisal

by Jennifer Hench, Demand Media
    A home appraisal is a necessary step in home buying or selling.

    A home appraisal is a necessary step in home buying or selling.

    Planning or preparing to place your house up for sale requires you make sure everything is in the best condition possible, as your house will need to be appraised. The appraisal is a mandatory step required by financial institutions to help determine the actual value of the property. Both sellers and buyers need to have an interest in ensuring that the best possible sales price is agreed upon and backed by the final home appraisal report.

    Location

    The geographical location of a house impacts the appraisal amount, as homes located in good communities, close to good transportation routes and near basic services such as hospitals, schools, churches and shopping centers fare better in appraisals. The specific location within a neighborhood is also important. For example, a corner lot home will pull a higher appraisal amount compared to one in the middle of the street. Having neighbors with well maintained homes and yards will also prove positive in the appraisal of a property.

    Exterior Condition and Appearance

    The outside of a house is one of the first things the home appraiser takes note of when determining the value of the property. Making sure the grass is cut, shrubs are trimmed, weeds are pulled and the yard is landscaped helps to increase the value. Making sure all trash and debris have been removed from the front of the house also makes the home look better. Remove cobwebs, clean windows, clear gutters and wash the house if it has vinyl siding.

    Heating, Plumbing and Wiring

    The main systems within a home include the heating, cooling, water and electrical systems. The appraiser will review and assess these items as they are some of the most costly items to repair. Make sure the appraiser can easily access the main areas of the home so he can arrive at accurate figures. Before a home appraisal, you may wish to have certified technicians inspect major systems to alert you to any problems that might be developing.

    Cleanliness and Overall Appearance

    The house itself needs to be clean and organized. Though an appraiser is not overtly concerned about piles of paperwork, she does need to be able to take pictures of all rooms and see all areas of the house. A house that's well-maintained and in move-in condition is more likely to get a higher appraisal.

    About the Author

    Jennifer Hench has been writing since 1990 on topics ranging from finance to technology. Her articles have appeared in "Network World" magazine, "Electrical Contractor" magazine as well as in other print and online media. Hench holds a Bachelor of Science in accounting and another in information systems from Lebanon Valley College and Lock Haven University.

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