5 Things That Hurt A Home Appraisal

home in disrepair | what hurts a home appraisal

A home purchase is the largest, single investment most people will ever make - whether it's a primary residence, a second vacation home, or an investment - and the purchase of a home is a complex financial transaction. That’s why it’s important to have an appraisal - an unbiased opinion of what a buyer might expect to pay, or a seller receive,for a parcel of real estate.

What Do Appraisers Look For?

Besides square footage, and condition of the home to determine overall value, an appraiser is also looking for safety hazards or things that could cause damage to the house. Why? Because the different types of loans (VA, FHA, Conventional Loan) have their own requirements. In some cases the lender has their own set of requirements beyond those. It’s almost like the appraiser is performing a mini-inspection.

Here are common things an appraiser looks at:

  • Exterior & Interior
  • Stairs
  • Paint Condition
  • Roof Condition
  • Structural Integrity
  • Rotting or Bare Wood
  • Utilities / Home Systems
  • Size of home, size of lot, and number of beds/baths

Now that you know what they look for, let’s take a look at what can hurt your appraisal.


1. Cleanliness / Home Interior

A clean (or cluttered) home does not affect a home’s value. Appraisers see hundreds of homes a year and will look past most clutter. A good impression however, can help form a better opinion because sometimes, a messy home with stained carpet and dirt covering the walls indicates a home that isn’t being well taken care of. Has the AC been well taken care of? How about regular checkups for the heater? Are there repairs needed that have been neglected?

So while appraisers may not consider it in home value, it may add time to the appraisal or raise additional questions.

Keep in mind, too, the comparable home values appraisers use give them a range of value for the home they are currently assessing. A dirty, unkept home will likely result in a final value that matches the lower end of the comparable property values.


2. Poor Curb Appeal

If a home lacks curb appeal and doesn’t appear as up to date as the neighbors before even walking in the door, it will turn off potential buyers. Thus, it will affect your appraisal value. Remember, comparable homes range in value and a poor curb appeal will likely result in a lower final value that matches the lower end of the comparable property values.

Here are some maintenance chores that will dramatically help the look of your house:

  • Wash the dirt, mildew and grunge off the outside of your house
  • Neaten the yard and replace any dead or dying shrubs, plants and trees
  • Fix sagging gutters and straighten the shutters
  • Repoint bricks that have lost their mortar
  • Reseal cracked asphalt
  • Replace cracked windows
  • Fix the fence or gate
  • Fix up the roof if it is in need of repair

3. Outdated Kitchens, Bathrooms & Interiors

According to HGTV, kitchen and bathroom remodels continue to be two of the best investments you can make in your house and they can benefit from even small renovations like replacing an outdated vanity, lighting fixtures or adding a new tile floor.

If the interior hasn’t been changed for decades, it may not appeal to buyers, which can also cause the value to decrease. Likewise, poor decorator decisions like unseemly wallpaper or obscene murals could result in an appraisal requiring repairs.

When it comes to home projects, don’t forget about your unfinished ones. Did you start repainting the kitchen cabinets and have to stop? Are you missing trim from when it was removed so the floors could be upgraded? Half done projects will make it more likely to attract investors instead of people seeking a move-in ready option. Thus, appraisers consider this in the final value.


4. Outdated Systems and Appliances

Updating appliances or any major systems, like plumbing, electrical or HVAC, can be costly, so if yours are outdated it could affect the overall value of the home. Outdated features like these could also signal that the home has not been taken care of properly and more issues lie beneath.


5. Glossing Over Needed Repairs

To ensure the appraisal goes smoothly, be upfront about any necessary repairs that you haven’t completed, such as fixing a cracked foundation. That means giving the appraiser any bids or estimates for the work. An appraiser can factor that cost into their calculations instead of using a more general figure, which will throw off the value.


Of course, there are things an appraiser looks at that you can’t control, but could also hurt an appraisal:

  • Comparable property values
  • Market conditions
  • Size of the lot and square footage of the home

Need An Appraisal In Phoenix AZ?

We do home appraisals in the Phoenix area including Scottsdale, Chandler, Gilbert, Mesa, San Tan Valley and surrounding areas. We welcome you to look through our website, review appraisal services, join our Facebook community, and learn more about our expert appraisers.

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