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How to Avoid Appraisal Problems

You’ve cleaned up, vacuumed and decluttered. Mirrors and windows are streak-free, and the home is ready for visitors! You’re not expecting your best friend or the in-laws. Instead, it’s the person that is going to examine your home from top to bottom to determine its value. The lender’s appraiser is arriving!

In some instances, home appraisals can come in low, slowing down or sideling your home’s sale. What are the things you can control, and what is completely out of your control?

Factors you can control

Deferred maintenance

By far, the biggest factor in lowering your home’s value is deferred maintenance. Postponing necessary repairs on your home happens for a variety of reasons, but the most common examples that should be addressed before an appraiser walks in are peeling or chipping paint and rotting wood on the exterior of the home. Sometimes more serious maintenance items need to be addressed, like cracked windows and water damage. If it is on your honey-do-list it’s a good idea to get these things taken care of before you list your home.


Dated or undesirable finishes play a key role in property values. Having new finishes, such as countertops, flooring and tile will, without doubt, help your home bring in top dollar, but focusing on design is also extremely important. Were the upgrades done tastefully and to trend, or did you decide that hot pink was the prefect color for your bathroom floor? Our team has access to interior designers and stagers, so if you’re planning on getting your home ready for the market your first step should be to contact us.

Factors you can’t control

Comparable homes

Before the home is listed, we’ve already talked about the comparable homes that have recently sold, and with this information you have a realistic idea of what your home is worth. The appraiser will also be looking at these homes. You can’t control the pricing of other homes, but you’ll have to trust a real estate professional to guide you when positioning your home for sale on the market. Sometimes there is an outlier as far as market value, such as a home sale among relatives, that can spell disaster for your appraisal. Making sure the appraiser is aware of this prior to arriving at your home will help avoid value problems.

Your home’s layout and location

Another area that is out of your control is the layout of your home which was most likely determined by the style and trends of when it was built. If your home has narrow hallways and living areas are closed off and compartmentalized, buyers might see this “functional obsolescence” as a major issue, which means appraisers will as well. Your home’s location can also be detrimental to the value. Backing up to a highway or large power lines will also be taken into consideration by the appraiser.

Before you list

You know we’re going to say it… the team you hire as your real estate professional is the most important decision you can make. Ensuring they have the experience needed to deal with appraisers and having success in appraisal rebuttals should be priorities. We’ve fought for our sellers since 2006 during the most difficult real estate times and have a successful track record in overcoming appraisal challenges. We know the importance of making a list of improvements to aid the appraiser to understand the increased value. So before you list, contact us so we can help you avoid delays and heartaches when selling your home.

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