The Apprasial

Surprising Factors That Can Affect a Home Appraisal


A home appraisal is an unbiased evaluation of your home’s worth. An objective third party will review various factors of your property and assign a value for what it should sell for. Home appraisals can help sellers set competitive prices so their listings generate offers while still turning a profit. On the buyer side, mortgage lenders often require home appraisals before approving loans to confirm it is selling at a fair price. 

But what factors contribute to a home appraisal anyway? Is there anything you can do as a homeowner to increase the appraiser’s value estimate? Here are 10 factors that affect a home appraisal so you can show your property in its best light.


The home location is the first thing every home appraiser looks at – and one factor that is completely out of your control. The appraiser will consider the value of homes in the neighborhood as a whole before they ever look at your specific property. A house in a historic district might have a higher value than one in a business district. They will also consider additional factors that can raise or lower your home value. These include:

    • How close your home is to other properties, the street, and neighborhood amenities like a fire station.
    • Whether noise pollution (like a nearby airport or interstate) could create a poor living experience. 
    • The home’s proximity to schools, parks, and other assets that make it desirable.
    • Whether the neighbors add or detract from the living experience. (Overgrown grass, a constantly-barking dog, or rude people can make homeownership a nightmare.)

Two homes of similar size in the same neighborhood could receive different appraisals if one is located right next to a major highway and the other is tucked into a quieter area.

Home Size

The next step after considering the location of your home is its size. The appraiser will consider the home’s square footage, bedrooms, and bathrooms available to potential buyers. These professionals have formulas that assign valuations based on these concrete numbers. Unless you recently added a bathroom or built an extension on your house, this part of the home appraisal is also out of your control.

The construction materials of your house can also affect its appraised value. Consider the structure of a house in a hurricane-prone area like Florida. Appraisers often favor homes made of cement blocks over wooden frames because they are meant to withstand hurricane-force winds. These homes are less of a liability for buyers and lenders, thus increasing their value. 

While you can’t completely rebuild your home, you can take steps to increase the value of your property by investing in modern materials. Consider your roof. If your home is in need of a roof replacement, you can increase the perceived value by replacing basic asphalt shingles with heartier slate shingles or metal roofing. 

Evaluate how different structural changes affect your home value. For example, a brand-new roof that costs around $7,500 has the potential to increase your home’s value by more than $8,000. You can make your home more sellable and get more money in the sale.

Comparable Properties in the Local Market

The current housing market in your area can affect how an appraiser values your home. They will look at homes nearby that sold in recent conditions to get an idea of what your home is worth. For example, if you and your next-door neighbor have twin houses and their home recently sold for $350,000 then it’s likely that your house will be valued at a similar rate. 

This sales comparison of the surrounding area also shows that you can’t trust a dated home appraisal. If you received a home appraisal a year ago, its valuation might be irrelevant based on the current market. Your home value will increase or decrease every few months (especially in a volatile market). You may need to get a fresh appraisal if a lender requires one.

Curb Appeal

Some of the most surprising factors that can affect a home appraisal can be found in the small details of a home. Your curb appeal comprises your driveway, house exterior, and any plants (trees, bushes, and flowers) that grow in your yard. First impressions are incredibly important – even for an objective home appraisal. If the first thing your home appraiser notices is a worn-out home with an overgrown yard, they might devalue your property. 

Spend some time improving your home’s exterior to prepare for the appraisal process. Pressure wash your home and driveway. Make repairs to driveway cracks and damaged areas of the house. Prune, plant, and improve the plants in your yard. Whether you live in a suburban neighborhood or an urban townhouse, curb appeal matters.

home appraisal

Storage Space

There’s good news for fashionistas who are proud of their walk-in closets and shoe displays: storage is almost always considered an asset with it comes to the home appraisal process. People from all walks of life want extra closet space, whether the future homeowner needs storage for holiday decorations or their kids’ toys. 

If you are planning to sell your house, now is the time to declutter. Donate or throw away the items you no longer need. Organize your closets, which will make them look bigger. The more storage you have and the bigger the closets, the better your home appraisal should be.

Foul Odors and Mess

Does cleanliness affect a home appraisal? It shouldn’t unless the home appraiser finds that the condition of the home can negatively impact the sale or value of the property.

For example, a messy house that has dishes in the sink and clothes on the floor shouldn’t affect the appraised value. However, if the house is dirty to the point where odors permeate throughout each room and the carpet is so dirty it needs to be replaced, then the value will go down. The smell of cigarette smoke alone can lower the final value of a house by up to 30 percent

Odors and stains can also serve as warning signs that something is wrong with the house. Water stains could point to leaks in the roof or broken pipes. Musty odors could make the appraiser worried about mold. Signs of insects or rodents could alert the appraiser to an infestation or termite damage.

Before the appraiser arrives, consider hiring a professional cleaning company. They will work to remove odors and make your home shine like new. That way you won’t let a messy house affect your appraised value.

Over Personalization

Small touches can make your house more comfortable for you and your family – but too much personalization could negatively affect your market value. For example, a pool can increase the value of your home. Choosing a pool shape that matches your company logo can reduce it. The shape is so niche that most buyers won’t understand why the pool looks at way. 

If you have specific uses for rooms in the house, try to modify them ahead of the home appraisal. You want to make your property seem generic enough to appeal to the average buyer.  

This is where staging comes in. If you have a house that has four bedrooms and two of them are used as home offices, you might want to stage them to look like bedrooms ahead of the appraisal. After all, too few bedrooms can deter families from looking at your house because they need to accommodate their kids.

Even if your home is in good condition, your appliances could affect the home appraisal. Few homeowners could last more than a day or two without a functioning hot water heater. If yours is dated and about to break, it can hurt your appraisal value. 

Other appliances like your washer and dryer, refrigerator, air conditioning system, and stove can all impact your home appraisal. This is particularly true if your home was designed to feature these appliances – like a large kitchen with luxury, commercial-style units for aspiring chefs.

You might be able to get a better home appraisal by investing in new appliances before your list your house.

Heating and Air

Depending on where you live, air conditioning is either a requirement to live or a bonus of buying your house. Buyers will expect your house to have a working air conditioning system if you live in traditionally hot states like Arizona, Florida, Texas, and Nevada. While AC units are less common in states like New Hampshire, Oregon, and Washington, recent heat waves are pushing more homeowners to install these units

Your home appraisal will vary depending on whether you have central heating and air or rely on window units. The age and design of the system can also impact your results. Consider installing or upgrading your system ahead of a home appraisal to maximize your property values.

One That Shouldn’t: Race and Ethnicity

While home appraisers are meant to be objective in their evaluation of the property, studies show that appraisers often devalue homes that are owned by black and Latino families. One family in Baltimore shared their experience where an appraiser initially valued their home at $472,000. The family removed all of their photos from the home and asked a white colleague to show the house. The new home’s appraisal was $750,000. 

This experience in Baltimore isn’t unique. Lender Freddie Mac launched an official study to review racial bias in home appraisals. It found that appraisers’ views of houses are more likely to fall below the contract price if they are located in predominantly black or Latino census tracks.

Low appraisals can lead to denials of home loans for buyers and lower profit margins for sellers. They can also devalue entire neighborhoods because appraisers look at comparable home prices. 

As a homeowner, you have spent countless hours improving your house and making it a great place to live. A home appraisal can be a tense experience because you want to see if others objectively value your home at the same level you do. However, many of the factors are out of your control – no matter how many candles you light and cookies you bake. 

Certified Probate & Trust Specialist 

As a Certified Probate & Trust Specialist you can rest assured that as a Real estate professional, I have the understanding of the Probate transaction and can represent sellers or buyers in probate transactions, as well as investors looking to purchase probate properties. 

Rudy Rodriguez DRE: 01121396


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Let’s Get Started

Most home sellers dream of a stress-free sale in which they simply list their house, quickly find a qualified buyer, collect the cash and hand over the keys. If only it were that simple! In reality, selling a home involves many moving parts — some that you can control, and some that are out of your hands.

For example, geography might influence how long your house lingers on the market or how high of a list price you can get away with. In locations where competition is hot and inventory is low, odds are you’ll sell faster and command a higher price. Conversely, in places where home sales have cooled, you will likely have to work harder to attract the right buyer.

The real estate market has shifted since the frenzied heights of the pandemic. Frantic bidding wars are (mostly) over, and both prices and mortgage rates remain high. With fears of a recession looming, many buyers are staying on the sidelines until either rates or prices (or both) come down. Ultimately, this has created a more balanced market: Sellers no longer have the clear upper hand.

So, as a seller, it’s smart to be prepared and control whatever factors you’re able to. Things like hiring a great real estate agent and maximizing your home’s online appeal can translate into a smoother closing — and more money in the bank. Here are nine steps to take to sell your home in 2023.

1. Set a timeline for selling your home

Selling a house is a major undertaking that can take several months from start to finish — or much longer, depending on local market conditions. So it makes sense to plan ahead and stay organized.

As soon as you decide to sell your house, jump right into researching real estate agents to find someone with the right experience for your situation (see Step 2). But don’t stop there.

At least two or three months before you plan to list, consider getting a pre-sale home inspection. This is optional but can be useful to identify any problem areas, especially if you suspect serious issues. Leave enough time to schedule necessary repairs.

About a month before listing your house, start working on deep cleaning in preparation for taking listing photos. Keep clutter to a minimum, and consider moving excess items to a storage unit to show your home in its best light.

2. Hire an agent who knows the market

The internet makes it easy to delve into a real estate agent’s professional experience, helping you choose the right person to work with. Look up agents’ online profiles to learn how long they’ve been in the industry, how many sales they’ve closed and what designations they may have earned. Pay attention to how and where they market their listings, and how professional their listings’ photos look.

“Any designation they’ve earned is a huge plus, because it’s a sign they’ve taken the time to learn about a particular niche,” says Jorge Guerra, president and CEO of Real Estate Sales Force and a former global liaison for the National Association of Realtors (NAR).

Some homeowners might be tempted to save on paying a commission and instead sell their home themselves, without an agent. This is known as “for sale by owner,” or FSBO. The amount sellers stand to save on those fees can be thousands of dollars, usually 2.5 percent or 3 percent of the total sale price. However, as the seller, you’ll still need to pay the buyer’s agent’s commission — and an agent does a lot to earn their fee. For example, they can expose your house to the broadest audience and negotiate on your behalf to garner the best offers possible. If you go it alone, you’ll have to personally manage prepping your home, marketing it, reviewing buyers’ offers and handling all the negotiations and closing details. When working with an agent, keep in mind that real estate commissions are often negotiable. As a result, you might be able to get a break at the closing table.

3. Determine what to upgrade — and what not to

Before you spend money on costly upgrades, be sure the changes you make will have a high return on investment. It doesn’t make sense to install new granite countertops, for example, if you only stand to break even on them — or even lose money. Plus, these improvements may not be necessary to sell your home for top dollar, particularly if inventory levels are low in your area. A good real estate agent will know what people in your area expect and can help you decide what needs doing and what doesn’t.

In general, updates to the kitchen and bathrooms provide the highest return on investment. But inexpensive DIY projects can also go a long way: A fresh coat of neutral paint and spruced-up landscaping are low-cost ways to make a great first impression.

There’s also the option of getting a pre-sale home inspection. This is optional, but it can be a wise upfront investment, especially in an older home. For a few hundred dollars, you’ll get a detailed inspection report that identifies any major problems. This alerts you in advance to issues that buyers will likely flag when they do their own inspection later in the process. By being a few steps ahead of the buyer, you might be able to speed up the selling process by doing repairs in tandem with other home-prep work. Then, by the time your house hits the market, it should be ready to sell, drama-free and quickly.

4. Set a realistic price

Even in competitive markets, buyers don’t want to pay more than they have to, so it’s crucial to get the pricing right. Going too high can backfire, while underestimating a home’s value might leave money on the table. To price your home perfectly from the start, consult comps. This information about recently sold properties in your neighborhood gives you an idea of what comparable homes around you are selling for, thus helping you decide how much you might reasonably ask.

“A frequent mistake sellers make is pricing a home too high and then lowering it periodically,” says Grant Lopez, Realtor at Keller Williams Heritage and former chairman of the San Antonio Board of Realtors in Texas. “Some sellers think this practice will yield the highest return. But in reality, the opposite is often true: Homes that are priced too high will turn off potential buyers, who may not even consider looking at the property.”

In addition, homes with multiple price reductions may give buyers the impression there’s something wrong with a home. So it’s best to eliminate the need for multiple reductions by pricing your home to attract the widest pool of buyers from the start.

5. List your house with professional photos

This step will likely involve your real estate agent registering the listing with the local MLS (multiple listing service). Here are some tips to get your home market-ready:

Get professional photos:

Work with your real estate agent to schedule a photographer to capture marketing photos of your home. With the ubiquity of online house-hunting these days, high-quality photos are critical. A pro photographer knows how to make rooms appear bigger, brighter and more attractive. The same goes for your lawn and outdoor areas.

Focus on online appeal: 

You’ve probably heard of curb appeal, but professionals say online appeal is now even more important. In fact, nearly all homebuyers look at online listings — 96 percent, according to NAR. “Your home’s first showing is online,” Guerra says. “The quality of your web presentation will determine whether someone calls and makes an appointment or clicks on the next listing.”

Stage it and keep it clean: 

Staging a home entails removing excess furniture, personal belongings and unsightly items from the home while it’s on the market, and arranging rooms for optimal flow and purpose. If you’re in a slower market or selling a luxury home, investing in a professional stager could help you stand out. Nationally, professional home staging costs an average of around $1,770, according to HomeAdvisor, but prices range between about $778 and $2,839.

Clear out for showings: 

Make yourself scarce when potential buyers come to view your home. Let them imagine themselves in the space, free from the distraction of meeting and talking to you. “Seeing the current homeowner lurking can cause buyers to be hesitant to express their opinions,” says Lopez. “It could keep them from really considering your home as an option.” Generally, buyers are accompanied by their real estate agent to view your home. You can also ask your own agent to be present at showings.

6. Review and negotiate offers

Once buyers have seen your home, the offers will ideally start rolling in. This is where a real estate agent is your best advocate and go-to source for advice. If your local market favors sellers, buyers will likely offer very close to asking price, or possibly even above. On the other hand, if sales are slow in your area, you may have to be open to negotiating.

When you receive an offer, you have a few choices: accept it as-is, make a counter-offer or reject the offer. A counter-offer is a response to an offer in which you negotiate on terms and/or price. Counter-offers should always be made in writing and provide a short timeframe (ideally 48 hours or less) for the buyer to respond. You can offer a credit for paint and carpet, but insist on keeping your original asking price in place, for example. Or, you might offer to leave certain items behind to sweeten the deal.

If you’re lucky enough to get multiple offers, you might be tempted to simply go with the highest bid. But look closely at other aspects of the offer, too, such as:

  • Form of payment (cash versus financing)
  • Type of financing
  • Down payment amount
  • Contingencies
  • Concession requests
  • Proposed closing date

Be mindful that if a buyer is relying on lender financing, the property will have to be appraised. If there’s any shortfall between the purchase price and appraised value will have to be made up somewhere, or the deal could fall apart.

7. Weigh closing costs and tax implications

In any real estate transaction, both parties must pay at least some closing costs. The seller typically pays the real estate agents’ commissions, which usually total around 5 percent to 6 percent of the home’s sale price.

Some other closing costs commonly paid by the seller include transfer taxes, recording fees and outstanding liens. Additionally, if the buyer has negotiated any credits to be paid at closing — to cover repairs, for example — the seller will pay those, too. Your real estate agent or the closing agent should provide you with a complete list of costs you’ll be responsible for at the closing table.

The good news is that you may not owe the IRS taxes on your profits from the sale. It depends on whether it was your primary residence, how long you lived there and how much you make on the sale. If you’ve owned and lived in your home for at least two out of the previous five years before selling it, then you will not have to pay taxes on any profit up to $250,000. For married couples, the amount you can exclude from taxes increases to $500,000. If your profit from the home sale is greater than that, though, you’ll need to report it to the IRS as a capital gain.

8. Consider hiring a real estate attorney

Some states actually require sellers to have a real estate attorney to close on a home sale, but many don’t. Regardless of your state’s rule, the expense is worth it to protect such a large financial transaction. It may cost you a couple thousand dollars, but there’s a lot more money than that at stake, and it can never hurt to have a legal expert give everything the OK.

In addition, an attorney can help fill out paperwork correctly, review contracts and documents, identify potential issues and ensure the sale goes as smoothly as possible. An attorney would also be able to spot title issues that could hold up your sale for weeks or months — or even torpedo the deal — such as outstanding liens or encumbrances, trust or issues and encroachments.

9. Gather paperwork and close

Lots of paperwork is needed to properly document a home sale, so keep it organized all in one place to help things go more quickly. Your agent can help you make sure you’ve got everything you need. Some of the main documents you’ll need to compile include:

  • Original purchase contract
  • Mortgage documents
  • Tax records
  • Appraisal from your home purchase
  • Homeowners insurance
  • Home inspection report, if you had one

Finally, once everything is signed and handed over, your house is sold!

Making The Dream Reality

Everyone has a dream they want to come true in life. Whether it’s having the Ultimate job, living where you’ve  always  wanted, starting a family   or    a    combination    of   all    these,   our  aspirations   motivate  us   to  pursue  these  passions   and   interests.  But reaching    your    dreams   starts   by setting goals for yourself and  having the  tenacity  and initiative to achieve them.

Rudy Rodriguez DRE: 01121396

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Adding Home Value

Adding Home Value

Adding value to a home doesn’t always have to be a major renovation project. There are several budget-conscious ways to enhance curb appeal and increase the value of your home. Here are some expert-recommended tips:

Landscaping: Improve your home’s exterior by maintaining a well-manicured lawn, planting colorful flowers, and adding shrubs or trees strategically. A visually appealing landscape can greatly enhance curb appeal.

Exterior Painting: Give your home a fresh look by repainting the exterior. Choose neutral or trending colors that complement the style of your house and the neighborhood.

Front Door Upgrade: Upgrade your front door to make a strong first impression. Consider a new door with a stylish design, or repaint the existing one to give it a pop of color.

Lighting: Install outdoor lighting fixtures to highlight your home’s architectural features and illuminate pathways. Well-placed lighting can create an inviting atmosphere and enhance safety.

Window Treatments: Install window shutters or add decorative trim around windows to enhance their appearance. It can make your home look more polished and aesthetically pleasing.

Clean and Declutter: A clean and clutter-free exterior creates a positive impression. Power wash the exterior walls, clean windows, and remove any unnecessary items or debris from the yard.

Upgrade Hardware: Replace outdated or worn-out hardware, such as doorknobs, handles, and house numbers. Choose modern styles that complement the overall design of your home.

Outdoor Living Spaces: Create an inviting outdoor space, such as a deck, patio, or seating area. Potential buyers appreciate outdoor living areas where they can relax and entertain.

Energy Efficiency: Consider energy-efficient upgrades like installing programmable thermostats, LED lighting, or adding insulation. These improvements can save money on utility bills and attract environmentally conscious buyers.

Maintenance: Regularly maintain your home’s exterior by fixing any damaged or worn-out elements. Repairing or replacing broken roof tiles, damaged gutters, or cracked walkways can improve the overall appearance and prevent further issues.

Remember, even small changes can have a significant impact on the value and appeal of your home. Prioritize improvements that align with your budget and the specific needs of your property.

Rudy Rodriguez DRE: 01121396

Visit Us

101 East Redlands Blvd Suite:294
Redlands, CA 92373


Monday – Friday
9:00 am -5:00 pm
Saturday – Sunday – By Appointment Only


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