Increasing the appraisal value of a new home is like tossing a pebble into a pond -- it creates a ripple effect. An increased appraisal value improves the amount of loans you can get for repairs, expansions and second mortgages. If you decide to sell the home, an increased appraisal value can boost your asking price and justify holding the line when it comes to negotiating the sale. While an appraisal was done when you bought the house, a little elbow grease and some carefully planned changes can make it worth more than it was at the closing.
Update the kitchen. Kitchens and bathrooms are the two rooms most scrutinized by appraisers, as they are the rooms that most interest potential buyers. If buying new appliances and laying new flooring in these rooms is outside of your budget, you can still increase the appraisal value by upgrading drawer and cabinet hardware, resurfacing cabinet fronts and upgrading faucet fixtures.
Install a jet/spa tub. Putting a jet/spa tub into the bathroom will add dollars to your appraisal because they are considered high end, luxury items. If you have a free standing shower in the bathroom, replace the shower head with a high end device.
Improve the curb appeal. The first appearance means a lot. Add some low maintenance bushes on both sides of the walkway leading to the home. Remove any foliage that cover the front of the house or hide the windows. Plant a flower garden along the entire front of the home to give it a welcoming look.
Get it clean. Whether it is a brand new home and has construction material left over, or it is an established home with some wear and tear, you need to clean it up, inside and out. Repaint the walls, have the floors professionally cleaned and wash the windows inside and out. Remove clutter throughout the house to give the home an open, fresh appearance.
Introduce pleasant aromas. Your nose may have adapted to Fido's scent or the new kitten's litter box, but you don't want that to be the first thing the appraiser notices upon entering the home. You also don't want to overpower the appraiser with heavy floral scents. A strategically placed air freshener with a natural scent such as ocean breezes will cover any animal odors. Implement the air freshener about an hour before the appraiser is due to arrive to be sure it has permeated the entire house.
Finish the basement. A basement that can be used as additional living space is a big plus when it comes to appraised value. Define the space by turning it into a noncluttered movie room or man-cave.
Improve the entrance. A fresh coat of paint on the front door and a modern light fixture on the porch will increase the appraisal value of the home.
- When adding greenery to the yard, choose plants that are in keeping with the rest of the neighborhood. You don't want the house to stand out like a sore thumb, but instead, be the best example of the neighborhood's current ambiance.
- An in-ground pool does not necessarily raise the value of the home and in many areas of the nation may actually reduce the home's value. Do not put a pool in if you want the appraisal value to go up.
Candace Webb has been writing professionally since 1989. She has worked as a full-time journalist as well as contributed to metropolitan newspapers including the "Tennessean." She has also worked on staff as an associate editor at the "Nashville Parent" magazine. Webb holds a Bachelor of Arts in journalism with a minor in business from San Jose State University.