What Do Home Appraisers Look For In A House?

What Do Home Appraisers Look For In A House?

If you’re looking to sell your home soon or acquire a mortgage loan, you’ll likely have to undergo a thorough home appraisal before putting it on the open market. But what is a home appraisal? And what does a home appraiser look for when they come to your home? Thankfully, our team of experts at My Site Plan is here to explain the essential basics you’ll want to understand going forward. 

Below, we’ve covered the factors that appraisers typically look for and the process they undergo to determine the value of your home. Please continue reading to learn more, and also consider exploring our selection of other educational resources for additional home information!

Related: How Much Does a Home Inspection Cost?

What Does an Appraiser Look for When They Come to Your House?

a realtor talking to a client


Home appraisers look at a wide array of features when it comes to the homes they evaluate for their reports. First, an appraiser will likely examine where your home is located and the overall condition of the neighborhood. This element will significantly impact your home’s value within the market. There’s a good reason why “location, location, location” is such an important saying, after all. The key factors they’ll likely take into primary consideration include:

  • Whether the house is built in an urban, rural, or suburban area
  • The growth of that area and how built-up it is at the time of the appraisal
  • The durability of the neighborhood, its proximity to services, employers, and access to public transportation
  • Market conditions within the area, and whether prices for nearby real estate are increasing or decreasing 
  • Zoning classifications in the area
  • The presence of FEMA flood zones or other potential hazards.
  • Different types of potentially adverse site conditions
  • Off-site improvements to streets, sidewalks, alleyways, lights, verbs, and gutters

Are you curious about all of the different documents and permits needed to start building your dream house or renovating your current home to ensure it meets your family’s needs? Our experts at My Site Plan are here to help, so please consider reaching out to us today for more information!

Next, the appraiser will examine your home’s structure and general property characteristics, such as the building materials it’s made of and the overall condition of primary structural features. Some of the essential factors they’ll take into consideration include:

General Property Characteristics

A backyard with a swimming pool in it

  • Size details regarding the home’s square footage and the number of bedrooms and bathrooms it has
  • The number of cars the garage can house and the condition and type of driveway (including whether it’s attached or detached)
  • The property’s overall condition and whether the home conforms with baseline neighborhood standards.
  • The type of foundation the house is built on and its overall condition
  • Whether the basement or attic is unfinished or finished

Related: Essential Features of All Plot Plans

From there, an appraiser will typically take note of specific exterior and interior characteristics of the home and their overall quality. These typically include:

Exterior Characteristics

  • The materials and condition of the roof and exterior walls 
  • The types of windows and the presence of insulation and screens
  • Various outdoor amenities, including pools, hot tubs, outdoor fireplaces, outdoor kitchens, sheds, covered patios, and other amenities 

Interior Characteristics

  • The type, condition, and age of the home’s heating and cooling systems
  • The materials and condition of the walls, floors, and trim
  • The presence and condition of various appliances, like refrigerators, ovens, dishwashers, and ranges 
  • The presence of energy-efficient features, including insulated ducts, and tankless water heaters

Beyond those essential factors, most home appraisers also consider several other elements, such as home improvements, upgrades, renovations, and additions. The more of these elements there are- and the higher quality they are- the higher the appraiser’s assessment of the home’s value is likely to be. Recent improvements or remodels to the kitchen and bathrooms, in particular, can carry significant weight when determining the overall value of your home. 

However, despite what people may think, additions like porches and in-ground swimming pools may not add much value to the house.

What Negatively Affects a Home Appraisal?

a man checking the windows on a new home


Many factors can negatively impact a home appraisal and make an appraiser say it’s worth less than it might be. Some of the most common factors that can negatively impact a home appraisal include damaged or outdated appliances, broken windows, faulty heating or cooling systems, and damaged walls and flooring. Leaks in the roof or attic, broken pipes, plumbing issues, and other such factors can also cause problems during an appraisal. 

While a messy house shouldn’t affect an appraisal, signs of neglect- like mold or peeling paint- may inadvertently influence how well an appraiser is willing to rate your home or how much a lender can offer you. Because of this, it’s generally a good idea to do a thorough cleaning and touch-up before an appraisal of your home. 

Related: Difference Between Residential and Commercial Construction

Final Factors to Keep in Mind for Home Appraisals

While undergoing an appraisal for your home may seem like a nerve-wracking experience, it doesn’t have to be overly stressful! Our team of experts at My Site Plan sincerely hopes that the above information has helped some critical factors into perspective, so you’ll be prepared for your next home appraisal. If you’d like access to even more details on crucial home know-how, please contact us today or explore our website’s vast array of specialized services.  

Are you ready to start constructing your dream home but need a little help getting your hands on all of the required permits and documents required for the process? Our team of experts at My Site Plan is ready and eager to help by providing you with a high-quality, affordable site plan to meet your needs!

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  • Ryan Crownholm