A home appraisal is an estimate of your home's market value by a licensed appraiser. As a homeowner, you can pay for an appraisal at any time. Typically, when you sell your home, a buyer and his lender get an appraisal to make sure your home is worth the contract price.
Unfortunately, one of the more significant factors that decreases a home appraisal is somewhat out of your control. Surrounding homeowners, their properties and their activities can all negatively impact your home's value. A neighbor with a poorly kept home and yard can knock your appraisal down as much as 15 percent, according to MSN Real Estate. If your neighbor is a registered sex offender or has other negative, public records, you could also suffer.
Poor Curb Appeal
What you do have control over is the curb appeal of your own property. Beginning with the outside of your home, an appraisal is looking at your home as a buyer would. Long grass, weeds, untrimmed trees, cobwebs and yard clutter all make a poor first impression. Once the appraiser gets in your home, any clutter, dirt or general lack of cleanliness negatively affects his perception of your home's value. Your best bet is to have a clean home and remove any extra clutter before you list it for sale.
The location of your home has the most significant positive or negative affect on your property's value, according to Gil South, a professional appraiser. At the extreme, a home near toxic waste facilities, a junk yard, railroad tracks, a loud manufacturing plant, an airport or very busy streets can severely impact your appraisal. In general, any aspect of your home's location that creates unattractive views, smells or sounds has negative effects.
The actual usefulness of your home is another important factor that can decrease your appraisal. Different buyers have their own preferences for home floor plans. The appraiser is looking at your home from the perspective of what most buyers commonly prefer. Multiple bathrooms is something homebuyers want. Unusual floor plans with small rooms may seem unique to an eccentric homeowner but lack appeal to the broader market. Rooms that are hard to get to or a pool that is not located in an ideal spot on the property can also have negative effects.
Neil Kokemuller has been an active business, finance and education writer and content media website developer since 2007. He has been a college marketing professor since 2004. Kokemuller has additional professional experience in marketing, retail and small business. He holds a Master of Business Administration from Iowa State University.