What Factors Greatly Affect a House Appraisal?

First impressions matter when a house appraiser arrives.

First impressions matter when a house appraiser arrives.

Getting an optimal value on your house appraisal is important when you are ready to put the house up for sale. An almost limitless number of factors can impact the appraiser's assessment of a home's value. However, a handful tend to have the greatest effect on the declaration of value.

Size Matters

The common starting point in assessing a home's value is its size. Simply put, a larger house typically has greater value than a smaller one if all is else is equal. The lot size of the property plays a role as well. Along with the actual floor space, the appraiser looks at the number of rooms in the house. More bedrooms and bathrooms tend to increase a home's value.

Property Condition

Another major factor is the overall condition of the property. A 5,000 square foot home with five bedrooms and four baths isn't quite as valuable if the property is in disrepair. The appraiser usually starts with a walk around the exterior of the property. She looks over siding, decks, windows, doors, the yard and other exterior features. She also looks at the condition of the interior, including walls, floors, doors, equipment and attached fixtures that are a part of the property.

Upgrades Add Value

Property values fluctuate over time based on overall housing market conditions. However, the appraiser needs to gauge any tangible changes to the property's features since its last appraisal. Any upgrades can significantly affect value. If you added a $30,000 room addition or a new deck, for instance, these can boost your property's value above its previous appraisal. It is a good idea to provide the appraiser a list of improvements when she arrives, according to an April 2013 RealEstate.com article.

Other Factors

Amenities that add comfort and safety to a home, such as new and high-quality HVAC and security systems, can also improve its value. Outdoor features such as a swimming pool, garage or finished deck can also lead to a higher appraisal. In addition, the appraiser will look at the home's layout. Typically, a home with a more open floor plan has greater value than one with a chaotic array of rooms pieced together. Finally, the appraiser will look at the neighborhood, its accessibility to amenities such as schools and shopping, and the comparable value of similar homes in the area.

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