An appraiser will factor in neighborhood sales, current listings, the condition of the property, the quality of any improvements, the location of course, and even things like the number of bedrooms and bathrooms. The appraiser will need to find comparable sales (“offsets”) to help establish the value of a property. The Uniform Residential Appraisal Report specifically requires appraisers to mark if a home has a garage and how many cars it has, as well as if they see any physical deficiencies in the property. If your garage door looks worse from wear and tear, consider investing in a replacement.
A recent study of HomeLight's top players found that installing a new garage door is estimated to have an ROI of 133%. Document all of your home improvements. If you replaced any appliances in your kitchen, renovated a bathroom, or did any other improvement project, document the costs and dates of the upgrades. Seemingly small solutions, such as replacing old countertops or buying a new dishwasher, can add value to your home.
Any additional improvements that have been made to the home, such as new hardwood floors, a new garage or front door, a new roof, new siding, etc., will also affect your home appraisal. Termites, rodents, and other pests can cause irreparable damage to the house structure, so this will play a role in the evaluation process. You don't need to do an expensive remodeling project to increase the appraised value of your home for refinancing. And while an appraiser may not reward you for your new, custom-designed, multi-zone wired heating system, water heater and generator since they're classified as “maintenance,” a homebuyer will reward you.
And there are many ways, besides major renovations, home additions, and other costly improvements to increase your appraisal. The perfect appraiser would focus solely on your home, eliminating all external and personal factors to give you the exact value of your home. Since appraisers often take pictures of homes during their review, also consider how you want your home to be remembered in these images. An appraiser should value your home based on how it would look like a clean slate for a new buyer, which means they should ignore the furniture you would take with you when you move in, the things on the walls, and any other personalized items in your home.
Even if you replace one of these essential home features, the appraised value may not increase much, if at all. The quickest and easiest way to increase your chances of a higher appraisal is to paint, which can take years off an outdated home. While conducting the assessment, the appraiser will take pictures of all the rooms in the house, the garage, and the exterior of the house. There are pros and cons to both new and old homes, so it's not necessarily guaranteed that the home will be evaluated just because it's new.
The fact is that evaluations are a bit subjective, and a clean house will generally rank much better in terms of overall condition than one that the inspector perceives as dirty. If your home is extremely outdated and hasn't been updated in several years, or decades, the appraiser will consider it. The appraiser also investigates nearby comparable homes (comps) with services similar to yours that have been recently sold. Whether you're selling or buying a home, you're likely to run into a home appraisal contingency at some point.