How to Make Your Home Look Great for the Home Appraiser

Cleaning is an inexpensive way to make your home shine.

Cleaning is an inexpensive way to make your home shine.

A high appraisal can mean more bucks when you sell your home. This is especially critical in a down market, when you risk selling for less than you paid. Your home's location, yard size and square footage are major factors in the appraisal. However, elbow grease and decoration will go a long way in making your house more attractive, which can influence the final appraisal figure. Make it your goal to get back more than you spend in increasing your home's appraisal value.

Ask a trusted friend to walk around the outside and inside of your property to point out areas that need improvement. Let her look in the closets, garage and other places usually off limits to company. A fresh eye will help you see problems that have become like comfortable old shoes.

Write down a list of your friend's suggestions and include your own ideas to form a master plan.

Clean up the yard and patio areas. Mow and edge the lawn. Get rid of junk and trash so the outside has a tidy appearance. Put work tools and hoses out of sight.

Freshen up the outside front door area. Hose off cobwebs and dirt. Scrape and fix any peeling paint and replace or repair the screen door.

Plant flowers or other moderately priced landscaping plants if the yard looks bare. Don't go overboard, but give the house some curb appeal.

Clean and decorate the inside entryway to make it picture-perfect. Paint the walls or buy a new rug if necessary.

Remove clutter throughout the entire home, including the closets and garage. Get rid of excess furniture or personal belongings that make the house look crowded. If you can't part with your stuff, store it at a friend's house or rent storage. Clean off the kitchen and bathrooms counters to make them look more spacious

Rearrange furniture for better flow of traffic and eye appeal. Don't block doorways or picture windows. If you can't solve a floor-plan problem, ask friends for suggestions.

Clean everything thoroughly top to bottom. Wash walls, shampoo carpets and polish floors. Wash windows, blinds and curtains.

Repair anything that's broken, from a dodgy flush mechanism to burned-out light bulbs. Fix major problems such as a leaky roof or torn carpeting despite the expense.

Replace shabby, outdated or too-personal decor. Replace faded pictures and curtains and put away your giant stuffed college mascot. Paint walls if necessary.

Items you will need

  • Mower
  • Edger
  • Hose
  • Plants
  • Cleaning supplies
  • Painting supplies
  • Home repair tools and supplies
  • Curtains, pictures or decorative items
  • Air freshener


  • If you have the budget, hire a professional stager to help you improve your home's appeal.
  • Investigate recent sales of comparable homes in your area with the help of your real estate professional. Learn the reasons for any unusually low prices on houses with similar square footage and yard size. Then pass those facts on to your appraiser so you get a fair shake.
  • Make a list of quality upgrades to your house and property, such as new upscale appliances, granite countertops, hardwood floors or producing fruit trees. Give the list to the appraiser when she arrives. Walk around with her to point out other extras such as scenic views.


  • Make sure your home doesn't have loose throw rugs, protruding nails or other hazards.

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