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What Do Home Appraisers Look For?

by Point2 Staff
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3 min. read

Whether you’re buying or selling a property or even applying for refinancing, a home appraisal is a crucial element of the process. As such, it’s well worth understanding what an appraiser looks for when they visit. With that in mind, let’s review a typical appraiser’s checklist and how the various points can impact their evaluation.

Home Appraisal Basics

Generally speaking, home appraisers check the size and condition of the property, both inside and out. They’ll also factor in any home improvements that have been carried out, as well as the value of the amenities. Additionally, they’ll consider several elements that don’t relate to the property itself, such as the neighborhood and comparables in the local market.

The Home Appraiser’s Checklist

Here are the most common factors a home appraiser will look for.

Exterior

  • Property age and size
  • The condition of the property compared to neighboring homes:
    • Foundations
    • Windows
    • Exterior walls
    • Roof, gutters and downspouts
    • Front and backyards
  • Driveway and other parking amenities, including the garage and the number of vehicles it can accommodate
  • Accessory Dwelling Units (ADUs)
  • Utilities:
    • Gas, electricity and water systems
    • HVAC unit
    • Sewer/septic tank
    • Solar panels and other energy-efficient systems
  • Pool, porch and other outdoor amenities
  • Evidence of pest and water damage
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Interior

  • Floor plan and gross building area:
    • Total number of rooms
    • Number of bedrooms and bathrooms
  • Building materials and their condition:
    • Floors
    • Walls
    • Trims
    • Doors
  • Type and condition of appliances:
  • Style of home and type of decor:
    • Modern
    • Dated
  • Evidence of mold, pests, water damage, etc.
  • Home improvements and renovations
  • Attic and basement condition:
    • Renovated/habitable
    • Unusable space
    • Storage potential
    • Sump pump in the basement

Neighborhood

  • Location;
    • Rural
    • Urban
    • Suburban
  • Zoning:
    • Compliance with local laws
  • Condition of streets and neighboring properties
  • Local market:
    • Number of properties sold in the area
    • Are prices rising or dropping?
  • Proximity to desirable amenities:
    • Schools
    • Shops
    • Public transit stations
  • Proximity to undesirable amenities:
    • Landfill sites
    • Power plants
    • Airports
  • Likelihood of being affected by natural hazards:
    • Flood zone
    • Hurricane or tornado risk

What Can Increase a Home’s Appraised Value

Every factor on the checklist will have some impact on how much the home will be valued at. For the most part, fully functioning amenities and structural items in good condition will always add dollars to the appraised value. Any recent renovations (as long as they’re carried out to a good standard) and energy-efficient appliances and amenities will also be a plus.

Having quality materials in the home, such as granite countertops and hardwood floors, will also typically increase the value compared to homes decked out in cheaper alternatives.

What Can Decrease a Home’s Appraised Value

Several factors will see the value of the home decrease. For example, a poorly maintained property will be valued lower than one recently renovated. Structural flaws, such as roof, foundation or wall issues, are the biggest problems.

More minor problems, such as mold, water damage, pest infestations or even dated appliances and decor, can also decrease the value of the home. One thing to remember is that older houses will generally be valued lower than new builds, as they’re typically seen to require more upkeep.

Looking for homes for sale in popular areas across Canada and the U.S.? Check out the links below:

Homes for sale in Regina
Homes for sale in Ottawa
Homes for sale in Oakville
Homes for sale in Montreal
Homes for sale in Markham
Homes for sale in Kelowna
Homes for sale in Kitchener
Homes for sale in St. John’s
Homes for sale in Moncton
Homes for sale in Richmond

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