What Appraisers Look for During the Home Appraisal Process

by on April 27, 2013RealEstate.com Guest Contributor

Whether you are buying or selling a property, you probably have a set price in mind. Unfortunately, your idea of a good price will most likely not be the same as what a lender considers a good price. That’s why a lender will always need an objective assessment of the home’s value, an assessment that can only be done by a home appraiser.

Appraising a home, especially in most large cities, is not an easy job. Properties that are just a couple of blocks from one another can differ greatly in price. A home’s proximity to public transit or schools, what floor an apartment is on, and whether or not there is a view are all factors that can make a big difference in the price of two seemingly similar homes.

Knowing what an appraiser will look for during the appraisal process can help you better prepare your home for the appraisal. A few key features of your home that an appraiser will be interested in are:

One of the fundamental features of home appraisal is assessing property sizeProperty Size

First, the appraiser will consider the overall size of your home. A larger property is often more desirable to buyers because it gives them the possibility of expanding the home in the future. Another aspect related to property size is the number of rooms. A home with many bedrooms and bathrooms will have extra value since the number of people who can live in the home will be greater.

The Exterior

Before even entering your home, the home appraiser will inspect the outside of your property. This involves looking at the structure of your home and inspecting the foundation, siding and roof to determine what materials they are made from and what condition they are in. The appraiser will also look for any damage to your home, such as leaks or cracks, and defects that may have gone unnoticed when the house was built.

Home appraisers assess home interiors as well; from plumbing to flooring to extra amenitiesThe Interior

As with the exterior, the appraiser will consider the materials used in the construction of your home; their condition is very important. The main construction of your home, including the walls, flooring, windows and doors, will be carefully inspected to determine quality and identify any damage or defects. The lighting fixtures, kitchen appliances and plumbing are also evaluated during an appraisal; their condition will have an influence on the appraiser’s estimate.

Extra Features

Amenities that contribute to the comfort and safety of a home will greatly improve the appraised value. Appraisers will take into consideration all the extras that your home offers, such as air conditioning, fireplaces, security systems, or smoke detectors. Outdoor amenities, such as a swimming pool, garage or gazebo, could also lead to a higher appraisal.


Improvements that you have made since you took ownership will influence the appraised value of your home. While inspecting the interior of your home, the appraiser will pay attention to upgrades that you have made to your kitchen and bathrooms especially. A new oven, stove, sink or bathtub is a big plus when determining your home’s value. Because the appraiser might not notice all the upgrades that you’ve made, it is important to provide him or her with a list of all the improvements before the appraisal starts.

Simple Ways to Boost Your Home’s Appraisal

A lot of factors that you can’t control will influence the appraisal of your home. The location of your home or the value of other neighborhood houses will definitely have a great impact on your home’s appraised value. Fortunately, there are a few things you can do to increase your chances for a favorable appraisal:

Clean Up Your Home

Get rid of any dirt, clutter and things that might restrict the appraiser’s access to your property. Your home’s curb appeal is also important, so make sure the hedges are trimmed and the gutters are cleaned.

Perform Minor Repairs

That leaky faucet or chipped paint can actually lower the appraisal value of your home. Make sure you take care of all small repairs and improvements before the appraisal starts.

Keep Your Pets Locked Up

If you have pets, you probably allow them to run freely inside the house and in the yard, but appraisers might get annoyed by a dog or cat following them around while they do their job.

Be Honest and Friendly

Last, but not least, help out the appraiser by answering honestly all of his or her questions. Save your questions for after the appraisal process is done.

Hopefully, you now have a clear understanding of what appraisers look for during the appraisal process. Do you have any tips that have helped you get a high appraisal?

This guest post was written by Andreea Ion from CurrentMortgageRatesToday.org, a Georgia-based company that provides articles, resources and tools for everything from mortgages to buying and selling a home.

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{ 20 comments… read them below or add one }

cristy February 16, 2015 at 1:05 pm

Also we have an 18 month old son that lives here in the attic with us. Would the appraiser bypass this because I’m told all he is really gonna do is count how many rooms are in the attic and keave? Is this really the process? I’m afraid of being evicted for living in an attic that is illegal . Like I said it is a 2 family home .


cristy February 16, 2015 at 1:01 pm

Ok so I live in an attic apartment with 2 entrances but it is considered illegal I believe bc the home is listed as a 2 family and not a 3 family my boyfriends brother owns the home. We got a yellow nOTE on the door saying they did an exterior inspection aND will be back for an interior. They are real estate appraisers and this is to check the value on the house for taxes. The city we live in contacted them so this is nit for a loan or refinance or anything like that. Our attic apartment is really nice we put alot of money into making it really nicE.so my questis what’s the worst that could happen? Since technically nobody should be living in the attic bc the home is not listed as a 3 family.


J T November 15, 2014 at 2:55 pm

I have just had a home appraisal for a refi and experienced an issue that everyone considering a refi that requires an appraisal should know. The appraiser calls to make an appointment and asks if we have smoke detectors and a carbon monoxide detector and we do. During the inspection the appraiser notices one of the four bedrooms does not have a smoke detector and she tells us we need to add one. No problem we will do that, at least I thought no problem. A few days after the appraisal was submitted to the lender I get a Changed Circumstance letter for the GFE from them. The letter stated I need a reinspection of my home by the appraiser to see the added smoke alarm and also there is a fee for this, an additional $100 for the appraiser. I complained to the lender and they told me this is California law and the loan can not proceed until this is done. You need to have a smoke alarm in every bedroom and the water heater needs to be double strapped. This is information the lenders or the appraisers should tell you prior to the inspection, but they don’t. WHAT A SCAM to make more money from unsuspecting homeowners. I will be passing this along to the appropriate agencies and newspapers.


rhsinaz January 9, 2015 at 10:19 pm

This is very good info. I live in AZ, in a suburb of Phoenix, and getting my home appraised on Fri 1/16/15. Its a make or break for this refi Im doing, and your info helps a lot.


Valerie October 30, 2014 at 8:08 pm

Too bad most appraisers are lazy and dont even bother to walk into the home and look to see if there are any improvements. I hear about “drive bys” all the time. We got a low appraisal on our house. We bought it for what it appraised at and we gutted the place when we bought it and basically rebuilt it entirely. So how is it gonna appraise at the same as it did before? Because they never bothered to go inside. They drive by and said welp, the other houses around it go for this much so thats what we are gonna put. Lazy!!!! What a joke and a waste of peoples time and hard work.


Mary Ann Daniell October 9, 2014 at 12:54 pm

Any potential homebuyer or seller would benefit from reading this well written article about home appraisers. I would like to go further and mention that a home appraiser and a home inspector have different jobs. This article seems to indicate that the appraiser is “inspecting the home”. He or she will do a visual inspection only. A home INSPECTOR gets into the systems of the home, performing a much more detailed inspection on the condition of the home. The appraiser works for your lender. The home inspector works for the buyer.


Slina December 14, 2014 at 1:06 am

What if you paid out of your own pocket to your lender to send an appraiser out to the property. Do they preform the same things an home inspector would?


Rebecca July 20, 2014 at 11:38 pm

Most of the property owner’s dont have any idea about the importance of arrangement of things in the property for the view to make the use of the space and make it more attractive by the interior.


Mathew July 13, 2014 at 2:00 pm

Nice post! I hope people read this. I just want to say that homeowners should make sure the water heater is double strapped if you are in California and a lot of states now require carbon monoxide detectors.


John June 28, 2014 at 9:38 am

Leave the appraiser alone. Do not follow them around while asking all kinds of questions.


GI Joe December 20, 2014 at 7:20 am

I, for one, do not enjoy my 4th Amendment rights trampled on. I want to see wherever the appraiser goes and what he/she is looking at. If I have questions, I will ask them. It’s MY home.


Jill February 6, 2015 at 11:18 am

The Fourth Amendment is only applicable if the government or a proxy is responsible for the loss of use or limited egress. In the case of an appraiser, you’ve invited this person into your home for the purpose of sale or refinance. Why would you want to needlessly distract them?


Thomas May 20, 2014 at 11:08 pm

A home with many bedrooms and bathrooms will have extra value since the number of people who can live in the home will be greater.


Colleen May 19, 2014 at 10:45 am

When the appraiser comes out to your house do they ask for permits for decking and especially FHA


Mr. Bavis April 23, 2014 at 10:07 pm

A new oven, stove, sink or bathtub is a big plus when determining your home’s value.


Mr. Baldwin April 21, 2014 at 1:37 am

Very nice story of about home appraisal. thanks for share it.


Marshal April 17, 2014 at 3:59 am

The size and location are the main factor and the exterior, interior, and the features are also calculated in the appraisal process.


Steven Kuria February 7, 2014 at 4:44 am

Very good information about appraisers for during the home appraisal process.Good post.


lubna September 23, 2013 at 1:09 pm

when u ask your lender about home appraisale what it mean


me March 27, 2014 at 3:56 pm

google it


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