When it comes to deciding to get your home appraised, there are a lot of things to consider. Firstly, you don’t want to simply get your home appraised as-is, especially if you can take advantage of updates that can give you a higher value. Whether you’re going to be selling or re-financing, this can be an important facet to consider before going forward.
To help you understand what steps you can take to increase the appraisal value of your home, here is what you need to know.
What A Home Appraiser Does and What They Look At
First off, to help you better understand the process, it’s important that you know what a home appraiser does. Having a home appraiser come to appraise your home isn’t like hosting an open house where a fresh-baked batch of cookies will garner you greater favor. Their job is simply to appraise your home to determine what the current market price of it is.
To determine the market value of your home, an appraiser will look at a number of things. These can include:
- Property size and upkeep
- Dead or dying trees
- Broken fencing
- Peeling exterior or interior paint
- Old or damaged roofing
- Doors and windows
- HVAC system
- Basement finishes
- Security systems
Essentially, almost everything that you would be leaving behind if you were to move will be examined critically. So, regardless of how well designed your living room furniture is, it won’t help increase your value if you have problems in any of the aforementioned areas.
What You Can Do To Prepare
Before we talk about upgrades and remodeling solutions, let’s start with some quick and easy things you can do to prepare your home for an appraiser’s visit.
If you can’t remember the last time your home has been thoroughly cleaned, it’s time to take care of that before an appraiser shows up. You may even consider hiring a professional cleaning service to help you tackle the task. While the overall cleanliness shouldn’t necessarily impact an appraiser’s value, a home with dirty walls, baseboards, and carpets can in fact negatively impact your value. Although a fresh coat of paint and new flooring is optimal, in some cases a thorough cleaning may help solve some of these issues.
Consider having your carpets professionally cleaned to help remove any built-up dirt and stains. Wash the walls down to remove any stuck-on grime, and take the time to clean those forgotten spaces in your bathroom. For instance, if your grout has darkened or started to grow spots of mold, scrub these spots with a light bleach solution to help give them a brighter, newer appearance.
Weeding, Mulching, and Power Washing
Once the inside of your home is cleaned, consider turning your attention to the exterior of your home. If the exterior of your home is dirty from years of mowing and weather exposure, consider giving it a power wash to remove the years of caked-on dirt and grime. Power washing can also work wonders on patios and driveways.
If you have flower beds around your home, make sure that they are thoroughly weeded and that any old mulch is replaced. This can help give your exterior a better appearance for your appraisal.
Easy Fixes Vs Remodeling
These are some of the easiest ways to improve the appearance of your home without needing to invest in any overhauls. However, replacing old fixtures and more extensive updates can be beneficial and they should be considered before seeking an appraisal.
Updates and Replacements To Raise Your Home’s Value
If your home hasn’t been updated in recent years, you should consider some fixes before calling in an appraiser. Not only can this help boost the value of your home for refinancing or selling, but it can also improve your quality of living while there. Here are some of the most significant improvements to consider.
Garage updates can add quite a bit to the value of your home, and they can help improve curb appeal for potential future buyers. Replacing your current garage door, for example, can give you around an 85% return on investment. Couple this with other improvements such as concrete staining, AC or heating, and extra insulation, and you can boost the value of your home quite a bit. A custom garage floor contractor can even install heated flooring to make it extra habitable even in harsh winter months. This can also be a great boon if you’re someone who spends a lot of time working in their garage.
Windows and Doors
Old windows and doors can not only look bad, but they can also provide inadequate insulation for your home. This can allow heat and air to escape while also giving bugs and rodents easy access. Updating your windows and doors to be energy efficient can be a huge benefit when it comes to increasing the value of your home and lowering your energy costs. For older homes that may have custom glass fixtures, a glass replacement service can replace the old glass and install newer, more resilient panes. Window replacements can offer up to an 81% ROI, making it a secure investment whether you’re planning on staying or selling.
If you are planning on staying in your home and refinancing, replacing old drafty windows and doors can also help lower your monthly energy bills, giving you a lot to be happy about.
Old HVAC systems can wear out over time. However, they can also wear out prematurely due to overworking caused by energy loss from poor insulation and drafty windows and doors. Just another reason to have the above replaced! If your home is currently in need of AC or furnace repair, this will reflect poorly during an appraisal and end up giving you a lower home value overall.
To prevent this, consider upgrading your HVAC system to an energy-efficient newer model, to help improve efficiency and even lower energy costs further. If you wanted, you could take this a step further and also install a smart thermostat to help you make the most of your unit. Thermostats like this can be customized to suit your needs and optimize energy usage so that you don’t wind up over-taxing your unit or paying too much every month for comfort.
Old plumbing can be a nightmare when it comes to getting an appraisal. From leaky faucets to backed-up sinks and toilets, all of these problems should be addressed before having an appraisal done. Have local plumbers come and inspect your plumbing beforehand, even if you don’t have any current problems. You never know what may be lurking under the surface just waiting to appear while your appraiser is watching.
Plumbing fixes can also include a water heater install, especially if your current unit is on its last legs. Old water heaters can also be very energy-consuming and not very efficient. Consider upgrading your water heater to improve this. If possible, you may even consider a tankless water heater which is both more efficient and longer-lasting than tank options.
Updating Appliances and Fixtures
Old appliances do homeowners no favors when it comes to appraisals, and having them replaced can increase your home’s value exponentially. Consider replacing old refrigerators, washers, dryers, dishwashers, and more to boost the value of your home and improve efficiency.
If your home has old fixtures like cabinets and countertops, you may also want to consider replacing those while having your new appliances installed. Old countertops can become stained, chipped, and dirty, leading to a lower value. Old cabinets can also peel, crack, and fall apart over time. Having these things replaced and remodeled can help improve the value of your home and give you something nice to enjoy while you live there.
Paint and Flooring
While carpet cleaning and wall washing can solve some problems, in older homes you may need a complete overhaul. If your carpet is torn, stained, or dirty beyond repair, consider having it replaced before calling an appraiser. Scuffed, scratched, or old tile or wooden floors should similarly be replaced if cleaning is beyond helping. Similarly, a new coat of paint can help cover problem spots on walls and make your home seem newer and more valuable.
If you have any dead or dying trees on your property, now is the time to get them removed. A tree removal service can quickly and easily cut down and haul away these trees without the risk of damage to your home or yard.
Dead trees like this aren’t just an eyesore, but they can even be a safety risk depending on how close they are to your home or pedestrian walkways. During a storm or in high winds, dead branches can snap, sending them falling onto structures, vehicles, or people. In some extreme cases, the whole tree may even fall. This can lead to expensive damages or even lawsuits if you’re not careful. When it comes to dead trees, it’s better to be safe than sorry even if you’re not planning on an appraisal anytime soon.
Landscaping and Paving
The landscaping of your home and the condition of your pavement will also be taken into consideration by a home appraiser. Consider having a professional landscaping service come and overhaul your exterior by removing weeds, planting new flowers, and re-mulching areas that haven’t been touched up. This can help give you a more presentable and valuable yard.
If your paved areas are grown over, dirty, or stained, you may also consider having them replaced or cleaned before having an appraiser head out. Commercial paving services can easily repave walkways, driveways, patios, and more, giving you a beautiful outdoor space that your appraiser will find favorable.
Trash can build up in sheds, garages, basements, and outside your home. This can give a negative impression and lower the perceived value of your home. Whether it’s bags of things that you swear you’ll find a use for or old car parts that you think may come in handy one day, it’s probably best to think critically about removing them. A trash hauling service can help you remove even large messes and tidy up your spaces so that they can be better used.
Getting the Most Out of Your Home
As a homeowner, you want to make your home work for you, both in terms of living comfortably and being a valuable investment. Whether you are considering an appraisal for refinancing or selling, it’s important to consider how you can get the most out of your home, so that you can reap the greatest benefits.
Look critically at the ‘bones’ of your home, not the furniture or interior design. Scope out the problems that you may have, such as old appliances, peeling paint, dirty floors, and old windows. Ask yourself if you would want to buy your home in its current condition and if you think it would be worth a high price. If you notice anything that you’re not happy with or anything that gives your home a less valuable appearance, consider having it repaired or replaced before seeking a professional appraisal. This will help ensure that you get the most value out of your home.
If you can’t get all the repairs and replacements that you like currently, don’t sweat it. Do what you can now and create a list of future updates you may wish to consider. If you have time and you’re not planning on selling right away, you may even consider holding off on your appraisal until you get everything up to a standard that you’re happy with.
With all of this in mind, you can help make your home work for you and get the most value out of it as possible.