Key Things That Hurt a Home Appraisal

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Key things that hurt a home appraisal

As a homeowner, you want to know the value of your home. A home appraisal is a professional opinion of a home’s value and may be required when selling your real estate. A residential appraisal is typically required in a home sale that requires a mortgage lender and home loan.

When determining its market value, a home appraiser typically looks at many aspects of your house, such as its condition, size, location, and more. However, certain things negatively impact the appraised value of your home.

It’s beneficial for homeowners to understand the appraisal report, appraisal cost, and any appraisal fees you may encounter. This blog post will discuss common factors that harm your home appraisal and how to address them.

What Hurts a Home Appraisal

Many factors potentially hurt a home appraisal. Interior and exterior variables such as the age of the house, location, condition, upkeep, improvements, home security, and neighborhood all play a role in the appraisal process.

Age and Location of the House

Older homes may appraise less high due to their lack of modern amenities or features. The home’s location is also essential when it comes to appraisals; homes in desirable areas tend to have higher appraised values than those in less desirable areas.

Condition of the Home

The overall condition of the home will generally impact appraised values. A messy house or a home with a damaged HVAC system affects the value of the home. In general, well maintained homes or newer homes will appraise higher.

Comparable Homes

Homes in your local housing market affect your appraisal. When checking comparable homes (comps), you want to find homes that have similar square footages and the same number of bedrooms. Find data for recent sales on similar homes by contacting a real estate agent or looking at online resources.


Home improvements such as renovations, energy efficient appliances, or new countertops increase the value of a home during an appraisal. Home security measures like alarm systems or cameras also help boost an appraisal score since they provide peace of mind for potential buyers.

Market Conditions

Market and seasonal conditions have an impact on a home’s appraisal result. For example, natural disasters such as floods or hurricanes cause property values to decrease due to damage caused by these events. Local market conditions such as high unemployment rates or low housing demand leads to lower appraised values for homes in certain areas.

Water damage

Water Damage to Your House

Water damage has an impact on the appraisal value of a house. Several types of water damage occur in a home, such as flooding, leaks, or storms. Each type of water damage causes different levels of destruction and requires other methods for repair or restoration.

When appraising a house with water damage, an appraiser will look at several key features to determine the damage’s extent and its impact on the value of the property:

  • Structural integrity is one of the most critical factors when assessing water damage. If there is structural damage due to flooding or other causes, it could be very costly to repair and may reduce the house’s market value.
  • Mold and mildew growth is also an issue that arises from water damage, and you must address it before any repairs.
  • The functionality of utilities such as plumbing or electricity may be compromised by water damage, leading to further problems if not appropriately addressed.
  • Water-stained walls or floors warped due to moisture reduces the appeal of a home and its market value.

Safety and livability matter when evaluating a property with water damage; any potential health risks associated with living in a water-damaged home affect its appraisal value.

Foundation Damage

Foundation damage impacts the appraisal value of a home. Homeowners should be aware of the common causes of foundation damage, how to recognize it, and how to repair it to maintain the value of their homes.

Common Causes of Foundation Damage

Foundation damage arises from a variety of factors, including:

  • poor soil conditions
  • inadequate drainage
  • extreme weather conditions.

Recognizing Foundation Problems

Common warning signs that indicate potential foundation problems include:

  • exterior wall cracks
  • interior wall cracks,
  • bouncing floors
  • cabinets or counters separated from walls
  • doors that don’t close properly
  • windows that are difficult to open or close
  • sloping floors

If any of these signs are present in your home, contact an experienced professional for an inspection as soon as possible to determine if there is any structural damage.

Impact on Appraisal Value

Foundation damage majorly impacts a home’s appraisal value since it affects many aspects of the property, such as windows, doors, walls, and floors. A damaged foundation leads buyers to believe that other parts of the house may also be damaged, which diminishes its overall value.

Outside damage

Outside Damage

Outside damage drops the appraisal value of a residential property. Outside damage refers to any harm that affects the external components of a residential property, such as the roof, walls, doors, and windows. 

This damage comes from natural elements such as fire, water, wind, flood, or human activities like vandalism or theft. Natural elements have an incredibly damaging effect on the physical structure of a building. An appraisal takes factors like age and condition when assessing homes for appraisal purposes.

Suppose there is visible evidence of outside damage, such as broken windows or missing roof tiles. In that case, this will likely lower the appraised value since it indicates that repairs are necessary for the property to meet specific standards for safety and habitability.

Signs of Home Infestation

Pests such as termites, ants, rodents, and other creatures cause damage to homes and lower their overall value.

Types of Pests That Commonly Infest Homes

Many types of pests infest homes and cause damage. Termites are among the most concerning pests because they quickly chew through wood and other materials. Common pests include ants, cockroaches, rodents, bed bugs, and spiders. These creatures leave behind tell-tale signs such as chewed wood, droppings, strange smells, or even visible insects or animals in the home.

How Signs of Infestation Impacts Home Appraisals

An infestation could result in a significant decrease in value due to potential repairs. In some cases, an appraiser may note evidence of wood-destroying insects which could lead to costly repairs. Certain types of pests, such as bed bugs or rodents, are health hazards which could also affect the appraisal process negatively.

How Can You Improve a Home Appraisal

A good home appraisal process means the difference between a successful and failed home sale. But how do you ensure your home appraisal is as high as possible?

Curb Appeal

Curb appeal is an important factor in any home appraisal. It’s the first impression potential buyers get when they see your home from the street, so ensuring it looks its best is vital. Keeping up with landscaping and ensuring your house’s exterior is well-maintained. Consider painting or staining your front door and adding outdoor lighting for a more inviting look.

Interior Design

Ensuring each room looks clean and inviting will help create a positive impression for potential buyers. Taking care of the interior includes:

  • Decluttering
  • Painting walls in neutral colors
  • Updating systems like air conditioning or plumbing

Exterior Design

The exterior of your home is a critical component in appraisals. Ensuring that all windows are properly sealed, replacing worn-out siding or roofing materials, and adding outdoor features like decks or patios increases your home’s value in the eyes of appraisers. Ensure that any outdoor structures are adequately maintained so they don’t take away from the overall appeal of your house.

What To Do If You Have a Bad Home Appraisal

A lousy appraisal is a significant setback for buyers and sellers, so knowing how to handle it properly is important.

The Importance of a Good Home Appraisal

A good home appraisal sets the baseline for negotiations between buyers and sellers, and lenders use it to determine loan amounts. If you receive an appraisal that is lower than expected, it puts you at a disadvantage in negotiations and make it difficult to get financing.


The home appraisal process is an important part of refinancing. A high appraisal helps determine your home’s valuation and how much equity you have in it. The appraiser looks at factors such as the condition of the property, recent sales prices in the area, and any improvements made to the property.

Tips for Contesting a Low Appraisal

If you find yourself contesting a low appraisal, there are steps you can take:

  • Gather more information and evidence to support your claim
  • Request a new appraisal
  • Seek advice from an experienced appraiser
  • Negotiate with the buyer or lender


When preparing for a home appraisal, it is vital to consider the factors that could negatively impact the value of your property. Completing all necessary repairs and improvements before the appraisal begins is essential. These fixes include minor repairs, such as fixing broken fixtures or replacing damaged flooring, and larger projects, like painting walls or updating landscaping.

Ensure the home is clean and clutter-free to make a good impression on the appraiser. Homeowners should also consider researching comparable properties in their area to understand their property’s worth.

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