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9 Things That Negatively Affect a Home Appraisal 

 June 21, 2020

By  Lora Keller

When it comes to selling your home an appraisal is arguably the most important aspect of the sale. Understanding appraisal values, how they work, and how they will affect the price of your home is a big deal. One of the most common questions that home sellers have is “What negatively affects a home appraisal?

This is a very good question. There is a spectacular amount of things that can potentially hurt a home appraisal. That is why we wanted to look at a few things that the average homeowner knows will affect the value of their home as well as a few things that you might not have known about.

Picture of a Florida beach house

Location

Obviously location is a huge factor in the price of a home or property and is well known amongst homeowners. There are several different things that will decide if the location will positively or negatively affect a home appraisal. 

  • Is the home in a low crime or high crime area?
  • Is the home on a busy road or in walking distance of major stores or eateries?
  • How good are the schools near the home? 
  • What about the geographical location? Is it near the water or is it more inland? 
  • Is the home in a known flood zone?

One major factor about your location that most people don’t always consider is the neighbors. Even if you live in a well maintained suburban area where all of the homes are well kept with nicely manicured lawns your direct neighbor affects you. 

If you have a neighbor with a rough looking home, broken down cars outfront or on the lawn, with grass that is yellowing or isn’t properly mowed that will directly affect your home’s value. Having bad neighbors is one of the factors that affect your homes appraisal value the most. And unfortunately there is not a lot that you can do to stop it. 

You can either plead your case to your neighbor in hopes they will clean up their act. If they will not you can check to see if your neighborhood has a homeowners association. You can make a case with them to see what they can do to enforce the guidelines they have set in place. More often than not they will be able to help. 

Comparables (AKA Comps)

In case you don’t know what comps or comparables are, it stands for comparable homes. One of the biggest factors that determine the market value of your home will be the comparable homes around it. This is related to your home’s location. 

Picture of a home and coins of value

The best explanation of home comps come into play is this:

You might have a beautiful and newly renovated or remodeled home with a freshly manicured lawn. However, if your home is located in a neighborhood where most of the other houses are old, decrepit, not well taken care of or falling apart, then your home appraisal will reflect that. 

Now if you were to take that same exact beautifully renovated home and put it in a neighborhood where everyone’s grass is mowed, the flower beds are tended to, and the homes look new, the appraisal value of your home would go way up. 

The same can be said for a home that is less than desirable. If your home is looking a little worse for wear but you live in a great neighborhood with many beautiful homes, your appraisal value will increase because of the other homes. 

Curb Appeal

Most homeowners understand the importance of curb appeal, but did you know it can be what negatively affects your home appraisal? When selling a home pretty much everyone has heard about curb appeal and understands it is important. Simply put, curb appeal is what draws in potential buyers when your home is listed for sale on the market. 

The only problem is that a home with little to no curb appeal isn’t’ just affecting potential sales and possible buyers. Understandably, curb appeal plays an important part during the appraisal process. This is especially true if you are looking to have your own appraisal done before listing your home so that you can list it at its current market value. 

So if you are looking to have an appraisal done but you were planning on waiting to spruce up your yard, you might want to rethink that and go ahead with fixing up your yard first. 

Size

The size of your home will always play a role during an appraisal. Obviously the larger the home the more it will be appraised for. Yet, more goes into the size of the home than just the square footage. First off, the size of the overall property matters, not just the building itself. The entire acreage of the property will be taken into account as well as any additional features to the outside of the property including storage space. 

If there is a shed on the property or any additional outside storage features those will also be taken into account. Another factor of the size will be the number of rooms. Obviously bedrooms as well as bathrooms (including full and half baths) will be looked at. However, the size of the bedrooms and bathrooms will be considered as well. 

An extra bedroom or bathroom can actually hurt your appraisal if it is considered uncomfortably small or if it seems forced into the layout. In order for a room to be considered a bedroom it must be at least 90 square feet and needs to also have a minimum of 7 feet to the ceiling. You can get into trouble for listing a home with a bedroom that doesn’t follow these guidelines. 

Storage / Garage Space

We’ve talked about how the size of your home matters, however, have you thought about what additional storage space you have? Storage has a larger impact on your homes appraisal value as well as being a huge concern for potential buyers, especially ones with families. 

For example, a home with a well built shed or with a 3 or 4 car garage will sell for more than a home with just a 1 or 2 car garage. Garage and shed space is not all that is taken into account. What type of storage space does the inside of the home offer?

Are there any storage closets or large pantries? What about the bedroom closets? Are they walkin’s? Even your attic space will be taken into account during the appraisal. Knowing what hurts a home appraisal is important, even when talking about your storage space. 

Functional Obsolescence

Most people have no idea what functional obsolescence is or what it means. Functional obsolescence is a big confusing word that simply means “terrible floor plan” or more formally it means “functionally obsolete”. Here are some common examples to help you better understand what functional obsolescence really means:

  • Needing to walk through one bedroom to get to another. 
  • Needing to walk through a bathroom to get to a bedroom. 
  • Needing to go outside to get to your garage.

A floor plan that doesn’t flow well, isn’t open, or that is simply outdated can negatively impact your appraisal value. However, functional obsolescence is more than that. Your home can also be considered functionally obsolete because of where you live. 

A home with 2 bedrooms and only one bathroom might have a perfectly ordinary floor plan but still considered functional obsolescence because the rest of the homes in the same neighborhood are all 4 bedrooms with 2 ½ bathrooms. The people who live in that area or potential buyers looking for a home in that area are looking for more bedrooms and bathrooms. So that particular home is not functional in that particular neighborhood therefore the appraisal valuation will be lower than other homes in that same area. That is what functional obsolescence is. 

Picture of a home living room being appraised

Cleanliness

You might be looking at your appraisal value and not understanding why it came in lower than you expected. Well, was your home clean? The size, shape, location, bedrooms, bathrooms, and materials used, an appraiser isn’t going to just take those few things into consideration. The home still needs to look good.

When an appraiser does a walkthrough of the home they are taking your home as is in its current condition and deciding the value of your home on their initial impression as well as pictures they will take while they are there. So it’s a no brainer that if your home still looks dingy and dirty that the appraiser is not getting an accurate representation of what your home really looks like at its best. 

If the walls have dirty fingerprints, crayon marks from the kids, laundry piling up everywhere, the kids room smells like sweaty old sneakers, the litter box smells like ammonia, and the bathroom has toothpaste all over the sink and toilet rings that still need scrubbed, all of these are things that can negatively influence how an appraiser depicts your home. It can also make it difficult for an appraiser to visualize your home as the property.

For example, if there are dirt marks and smudges all over the walls but you plan on cleaning them or painting over them before selling, the appraiser can’t provide you with an accurate appraisal for the home as is.

A dirty home definitely negatively affects a home appraisal. Remember to always clean the house as best as you can or even higher a cleaning team if you can’t do it all yourself. It can make a real difference when it comes to your home appraisal. 

Your Local Market

The local real estate market has a huge influence on what your home will sell for. This is mostly because of the comparable homes in your area as well as other factors that allow fluctuations in price. One major issue is when the market in your area has been slow. When there is a lack of more recent comparable homes in the area that have sold, it becomes more difficult for an appraiser to judge the current market. 

The reason why this makes it so difficult to determine the market value is because of how often the market is fluctuating. Even a comparable home that was sold about a month ago may no longer be an accurate depiction of the current market today. 

Major Appliances and Systems

It’s no secret that homeowners are looking for great appliance systems that work well and reduce energy consumption. The more up to date your appliances are, the more they will be appraised for. Having new appliances installed such as a new fridge, a new dishwasher, a new stove, or even a new HVAC unit can seriously increase your appraisal value as well as appeal to potential home buyers.

Here at R.E. Appraisal Associates of SWFL, Inc we care about our clients and their home selling and buying experience. If you need a home appraisal our excellent staff will help you with a quick and accurate appraisal either in-home or online. To learn more about what negatively affects a home appraisal or to learn more about what we can do to help you, give us a call today at 941-743-3700.

Lora Keller


Lora Keller

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