Cheap Ways to Improve Your Home’s Appraisal

by Jessica Sommerfield · 0 comments

Having your home appraised can be a stressful experience, especially if you’re concerned it may not be valued as high (or as low) as you think it should be. In you’re dividing assets in a lawsuit, you may not want your home to be appraised quite as high because the value of the home is considered one of many possible assets that have to be divided up fairly. On the other hand, if you’re trying to get good terms for refinancing or are trying to sell your house, you’d prefer the highest possible appraisal. Assuming you want your house to be receive a high appraisal (the most common scenario),  there are many things you can do to improve its actual and perceived value. Home renovations are usually expensive and time consuming, however, so if you don’t have either time or money, there are many cheap and easy fixes that can still significantly increase the appraised value of your home. Here are a few.

Less is More: De-clutter and Make Space
The longer you’ve lived in the home, the more likely it is to be full of ‘life’ in the form of stuff, and well…clutter.  When your home is appraised or shown to potential buyers, they will try to visualize its potential and picture themselves living there. If it’s full of your stuff, the visualization is much harder. Secondly, clutter instantly shrinks rooms to appear smaller than they really are, and gives them the impression of uncleanliness. It also implies a lack of sufficient storage (usually high on the list of priorities for buyers). Simply putting away your belongings  neatly and striving for a ‘minimal’ appearance with furniture, decorations, and wall hangings will give your home a fresh, clean and spacious appearance and instantly increase its perceived value.

Cater to Your Market
Speaking to an experienced appraiser or realtor before you make any major changes in your home is a wise first step. There may be trends in the housing market you’re unaware of, especially if you’ve been out of it for a while.  What you think will improve your home’s value may be different than the ideas of those who appraise homes, or the majority of potential buyers.

Generally, the more rooms (especially bedrooms) a home has, the higher its value. Older houses, especially, tend to have strange layouts due to later additions. Look at your home with a critical eye and see if there are any rooms that could be easily converted to a bedroom, or a partial room that could be made into a complete one. Sometimes simply adding a small closet converts a room into a bedroom!  If you can’t think of anything, bring in another set of eyes to get a second opinion.

Small Fixes Make Great Improvements
If you’re having your house appraised, chances are you’re hoping to put in as little money and effort as possible (unless you’re planning to stay in it and need to make the changes, anyway). The good news is that even small things can make a huge difference.  For instance, you can replace broken tile or old ceiling fan blades, touch up paint, steam-clean carpets, improve your home’s lighting, or color-coordinating your kitchen appliances by flipping or switching out face plates. If you’re selling the home, take care to stick to the minimal. The new owner may want to change things and renovate anyway.

Focus on First Impressions
The first thing an appraiser or a potential buyer will see is your yard and the outside appearance of your home. Is your landscaping neat and appealing? Is your yard free of clutter? Is your walkway swept? Pay attention to the entry way, as well. Make it unique and inviting, and be sure to burn some fragrant candles to eliminate any odors you might be unaware of.

These are just a few of the ways you can be sure to get the best possible appraisal of your home. A humble yet clean, neat home improved with simple fixes can create a higher perceived value than a more expensive home that’s dirty, cluttered, and in disrepair.

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