Appraising Home Value

Here are many Factors That Influence Your Home Appraisal Value:

Location

First, your home appraisal value is based on the location of the home. Different neighborhoods will increase the value of your home. Where your home is positioned in the neighborhood will also hold some weight. For example if you have a large lot in the back of the neighborhood it will be worth more than the corner lot parallel to the main road. The neighborhood’s value is based on multiple factors including its crime rate, how close it is to schools and hospitals, the neighboring school system’s rating and other surrounding amenities like beaches and parks.

Many appraisers use Fannie Mae’s Uniform Residential Appraisal Report to compare homes based on uniform criteria. Though it doesn’t cover every aspect that could impact a home’s value, it does cover many of the most important, including several noteworthy location details.

What makes a great home location? Here are a few factors that may increase your home appraisal value from a good location:

•Low crime

•Highly-rated schools

•Near hospital, fire station, and/or police station

•Walkable

•Well-maintained roads, streetlamps etc.

•Nearby homes are mainly owner-occupied, not rented, foreclosed, or for-sale

•Located in a suburban neighborhood, about 20 to 30 minutes from a large or mid-sized city

•Not located on a busy road

Structural Construction Materials and Updates

Another factor that determines your home appraisal value is the construction materials used to build the foundation of your home. A house built more recently with modern materials, or updated to use modern materials will hold a higher value than a home that hasn’t been updated since it was originally built decades ago. Updating other materials like the roof, siding or windows will also add to your home appraisal value because they improve the overall efficiency and safety of the structure of the home. If your home is structurally unsound or in need of repairs, this can be one of the best ways to prepare for a home appraisal.

Some high-value structural updates to consider or look for:

•Updated electrical, especially when correcting hazardous electrical methods like knob-and-tube

•Asbestos or other dated materials now known to be hazardous have been removed

•A deeper basement which creates potential living space or useful space

•New roofing, especially if the previous roof is more than 20 years old

•New siding, especially if the previous siding was damaged

•Solar panels where conditions permit

•Additional insulation

•High-quality windows

•High-quality door

Age of the Home

Historic home appraisal value, the age of your home will also be a factor in your home appraisal value. A newer home won’t necessarily always be appraised higher than an older home. There are advantages to having a new and old home. New homes that were built within the last 10 to 20 years are less likely to have major issues, so are lower risk to buy and this will therefore increase the home appraisal value. Older homes that are located in historic districts or have been maintained fabulously for decades will also have a high appraisal.

Design Style of the Home

Another area that will be evaluated to determine your home appraisal value is the overall design of the home. There are certain timeless home designs that will not affect the long term value of your home. However if you opt for trendy decor and overall finishes in your home it could be appraised at a lower value when it’s no longer in style. For example if your home was last updated in the 70s, and the finishes in the home reflect that, it may be appraised at a lower value because it does not appeal to all buyers.

Curb Appeal

The curb appeal and general landscaping of the home also impacts the home appraisal value. If your home lacks curb appeal it could lower the value of the home. On the other hand if your yard is filled with hard to care for plants and a hazardous dead tree this could also negatively affect your home appraisal value. It’s best to go with an easy to care for and clean landscape design to appeal to most buyers and increase your appraisal value.

Number of Bedrooms

The number of bedrooms in your home will also increase your home appraisal value. The home appraiser will compare your home to other homes in the area with the same number of bedrooms to make a value comparison. One-bedroom homes sell for significantly less in almost every situation, mostly because families are not interested in them. If you are considering a home addition and your home has only one bedroom, this can add a lot to your home appraisal value.

Number of Bathrooms

The number of bathrooms in your home will also increase your home appraisal value. If you have 3 full bathrooms in your home for example, your home will be appraised higher than a home that has 1 and a half bathrooms.

Square Footage

Small square footage decrease home appraisal value. Another area that’s evaluated to determine your home appraisal value is the overall square footage of the home. Once that number is determined, the appraiser will look at how that space is distributed throughout the home. How much of your square footage is useable and livable space? This is an important distinction. Appraisers generally only include the usable above-grade square footage of a home, even if the basement is finished and livable. However a finished basement can still add value to the home. These are all areas that will be taken into consideration when evaluating the square footage of your home.

Heat and Air

The type of heat and air your home has will also be a factor in your home appraisal value. Homes that have central air for example will be appraised higher than homes that require room by room air conditioning units. In addition, how your heat is fueled, whether by electric, gas or oil will also be taken into consideration. Any outdated systems will lower the appraisal value of your home.

Storage Space

Another area that’s considered is storage space. A home that has an ample amount of large closets, a usable basement and a large attic for storage will be appraised at a higher value. Many home buyers who are looking to upsize their home take into consideration how much storage space a home has, so this is also something that an appraiser will look at to determine value.

Garage Space

The size of the garage, or if the home has a garage at all, will also contribute to the home appraisal value. A home with a 3 car garage will be appraised higher than a home with a 1 car garage with comparable features. In general where a home buyer is able to park their cars will influence the appraisal value.

Recent Home Renovations

Bathroom remodel increase home appraisal value

If the home has undergone large home renovations since the last time it was appraised, this will also contribute to the home appraisal value. Newly updated kitchens and bathrooms hold a lot of value in today’s market, so an appraiser will take these renovations into consideration when determining the value of your home. Before putting your home on the market, choosing high impact areas of your home to renovate could have large returns on the appraisal value of your home. Home renovations don’t have to be huge to increase appraisal value. Some of the lowest-cost home improvements yield the highest ROI.

Here are a few of the most valuable home renovations:

•New garage door

•New front door

•Grand entrance

•New siding

•Hardwood floors, especially when existing flooring is damaged

The Current Real Estate Market

Finally, the current real estate market has a large influence on how your home is appraised. Homes appraised during a “seller’s-market”, or a market that’s saturated with a ton of buyers and not enough inventory to accommodate all of them, will be appraised higher. On the other hand your home appraisal value during a “buyer’s-market”, or a market that’s saturated with a ton of homes and little buyers, will be appraised lower.

What can influence the real estate market?

•Home inventory and the types of homes available in your area

•Buyer’s or seller’s markets

•Interest rates and mortgage availability

•Overall confidence in stock market and real estate market

•Overall buyer confidence

•Local and national economic growth or contraction

Nearby Features

Nearby features can add to or detract from a home’s appraisal value. For example, if your home is located on a lake, canal, ocean or it has beach access, these features will all increase your home’s appraisal value. Neighborhood amenities like parks, playgrounds, biking paths and other features can all increase appraisal values as well. However, undesirable features like industrial contaminated sites, landfills, power lines and other developments can lower appraisal values.

Comps

Comparable homes or comps are one of the most important factors affecting appraisal value. An appraiser will take a close look at recently sold, nearby homes with similar bedrooms, bathrooms, updates and square footage to your home. The value of these homes can provide baselines for appraisal value.

Understanding what factors are taken into consideration when determining your home appraisal value will help you get the most value and avoid overpricing your for sale home. Certain home updates, like adding central air to your home for example, could have a huge return when you go to sell your home in the future. Also strategically placing your home up for sale during a time when the market is hot with buyers will help you get more money for your home.