How to Get a High House Appraisal

Knowing how to get a high house appraisal is vital when you're looking to either sell or refinance your home. The appraisal, or estimated value of the home, drives the amount you can sell it for and the amount that a mortgage lender will arrange with the buyer. There are some improvements you can make to ensure that the appraisal leans higher for your type of house.

Exterior Improvements
Make the home appealing to look at and increase its value by ensuring the landscaping is top notch. Whether you invest in a professional landscaping company or do it yourself, a well-landscaped property can really increase the value. For example, installing an automatic sprinkler system is not too difficult for a do-it-yourself project, but it adds great value to a yard. Plant trees, set up raised flower beds and plant perennials to showcase the house for all seasons. A fence around the property is another way to increase its value.

Interior Improvements
While painting and cleaning the carpets will make the house more appealing, these kinds of cosmetic touches don't really add much value to the appraisal. Focus on adding permanent features to the home that will affect the value. One of the biggest changes you can make to a house that will affect the appraisal is a kitchen remodel. Even if you can't afford a complete redo, focus on changes that count, and keep quality in mind. For example, install marble countertops instead of Formica, exchange tile for vinyl and put in a new efficiency sink and garbage disposal. Bathrooms can also make a difference to an appraisal, especially if the house is a few decades old. If the home has any unfinished spaces, such as a basement or loft, spend a little time and money to get that finished and enjoy the increased value it gives the home.

Overall Impressions
Expensive fixtures and fancy shrubs won't mean much to either an appraiser or a potential buyer if the home isn't kept clean and tidy. To maximize curbside appeal, clear away any clutter, fallen leaves, dead trees, piles of junk and even broken fencing. Inside, give everything a fresh coat of paint, and clear out any closets or basement corners that are too full of clutter to allow easy access. Clean every area of the home, and do all the small repairs to the home you've been putting off, such as fixing rain gutters, mending broken screens, replacing cracked tile and fixing shutters. As a final touch, add shelves to closets to increase the storage space.

In some ways, it will feel as if you are preparing for an open house all over again, but this step might be even more important. An appraiser may not be familiar with your area and will be seeing your home for the first time, yet he or she will have a tremendous impact on how much you get for your home. Make this first impression count.

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