4 Things That Hurt a Home Appraisal

A home inspector carries out a home inspection for a house appraisal in San Antonio, TX.

Selling a home in Texas is an extensive process.

You’ll need to secure documentation, assemble a team, run through a home inspection checklist, and find buyers for your home. Among the many items, you’ll need to consider the appraisal.

Getting an appraisal can help you estimate your home’s fair market value and compile a home sale price. The outcome of your appraisal is, therefore, crucial to maximizing your profits. 

You may wonder what hurts a home appraisal—and how you can avoid potential pitfalls along the way.

Use this guide to the appraisal process to determine what hurts a home appraisal and how to implement the most accessible and affordable solutions.

Alternatively, consider working with cash home buyers in Texas to avoid the lengthy home appraisal process altogether.

What Hurts a Home Appraisal 

Your home appraisal—along with market conditions and your home’s location—will determine your home’s value. You can also consider comparable homes in your area to get a better idea of valuation.

Several different factors can negatively impact your home appraisal. To obtain a higher appraisal of the value of your home, you’ll need to address some of these fundamental issues.

Consider the following list before embarking on the appraisal process.

Maintenance Issues 

The first thing to consider is the current state of your home.

If your appraiser walks into a messy house, they are less likely to notice its many strengths. This could affect the valuation of your home and show up on your appraisal report.

Consider clearing clutter, cleaning all surfaces, including countertops, and adding small touches like air freshener.

You can take on additional home improvements down the line if necessary.

Your Home’s Specifications

Some logistical factors that influence your appraisal value include:

  • Your home’s square footage 
  • The number of bedrooms
  • The number of bathrooms 
  • Curb appeal 

Additionally, you could have a low appraisal value if you own an older home or one with a complicated history. Newer houses and those with recent renovations are generally valued at higher prices. 

To get a better idea of the value of the home, you can also look at recent sales in your area. Understanding comparable sales can give you a ballpark figure to work from and help you identify features that might interfere with a successful appraisal.

You can consult mortgage lenders to learn more about current prices and home loans since this information can give you a clearer picture of the current market. 


This could affect your home appraisal if your home has significant water or structural damage.

Appraisers look for intact foundations, walls, roofs, and more. You will likely receive a lower appraisal value if they find water damage. 

They also prefer energy-efficient systems, which can boost the value of a house. If there are damages to your HVAC system or utilities, you’ll likely need to address them before selling your home. 

Ultimately, you may need to undertake repairs and renovations before placing it on the housing market.

Additional Issues 

There are additional issues that could impact your appraisal.

For example, if you have an infestation in your home, it could significantly impact the valuation process. 

The layout of your house will affect the appraisal as well. Older houses tend to be more compartmentalized while modern houses tend to have an open space layout.Even though it’s unlikely to pay off doing a big renovation project just before selling your house, have a look and see if there are any small issues that can be improved.  

Additionally, consider factors you may ordinarily overlook, like landscaping, interior decor, and the color of your walls. Everything counts! 

Water Damage to Your House 

Water damage is one of the most detrimental issues you can face—but it’s relatively easy to prevent and resolve. 

You should first determine where the stopcock or water meter is in your home to check for damages or alarming changes consistently. Look around your home for leaks or signs of water damage, and check underneath countertops for drips.

Consider installing a water leak detection device and insulating your pipes—particularly during the winter—so they don’t burst and cause damage. 

You will also need to consider the exterior of your home. A compromised wall or roof can allow moisture to enter your home and cause damage. Inspect your roof frequently to catch issues ahead of time.

If you suspect you already have water damage, you can search for solutions online or contact a repair person. The earlier you address water damage, the less likely it is to affect your appraisal.

Alternatively, if you are looking to sell a house fast in Marion or elsewhere, you can contact local homebuyers to determine if water damage is an issue.

Foundation Damage 

Your home inspection will likely begin outside, where an appraiser will examine your foundation. 

Your home’s foundation is one of the most critical structural elements since it upholds the rest of the house and ensures longevity.

If there are damages to your foundation, you risk a lower asking price. 

Some signs of foundation damage include:

  • Visible cracks or crumbling 
  • Cracked or bowed walls 
  • Crooked doors or separating doors and window frames
  • Standing water in or around your house
  • Sagging, uneven floors in your home
  • Bugs in your basement 
  • Vegetation around the foundation 
  • Rotting wood

You should resolve these issues immediately if you notice any of the above signs. Consider contacting a local professional to help you address any compromising damages to your foundation; it will likely improve your chances on the local market.

Outside Damage 

Because your residential appraisal will likely begin outside, you must prioritize curb appeal.

This includes landscaping, upgrading exterior structures like sheds or patios, and clearing clutter.

Additionally, you may need to undertake repairs. Consider using a guide for exterior home repairs, or begin by addressing any one of the following issues:

  • Loose shingles or roof damages
  • Broken, cracked, or dirty windows
  • Gutters issues
  • Peeling or broken weatherstripping 
  • Patchy lawns or weeds
  • Broken, cracked, or separating deck boards
  • Patchy, peeling, or damaged decks 
  • Wood siding issues
  • Broken or damaged fences 
  • Dirty outdoor surfaces (patios, walkways, roofs, walls)

Addressing external damage is one of the most critical steps before a home appraisal, so consider taking care of such issues as soon as possible.

You can hire a repairperson to help you or upgrade yourself. Remember to repair within reason since not all damages require the same level of intervention.

Consider consulting a realtor or real estate expert to learn more about which repairs are necessary and which aren’t.

Signs of Home Infestation 

An easy way to get a low appraisal is to have an infestation in your home.

Whether you have rats, insects, or mold, you’ll need to address the issue immediately. 

There are several telltale signs of a home infestation. You can use the checklist below to determine if you might have a pest problem.

  • Check for bugs, rodents, or mold in hard-to-reach areas like bathrooms, kitchens, closets, and outside.
  • Look for dead bugs as well.
  • Search for pest droppings or evidence of nesting. Rats and mice are likely to create visible nests in small spaces.
  • Listen for strange sounds that are unfamiliar to you. Rats or mice may scratch or squeak, while insects might make familiar chirping sounds.
  • If you notice odd smells, you may have a pest. Mice typically smell like must, and rats smell like ammonia. Cockroaches and bedbugs give off sweet, rancid smells. 
  • Look for signs of bed bug droppings in the corners of your bed or mattress. These are usually small black dots.
  • Look for holes and gnaw marks in your walls and floors.
  • Search pantries and kitchens for evidence of animals eating your food.
  • Look for grease marks and tracks around your home since mice use the same pathways.
  • Look for signs of termites (visible holes in wood or shredded wings).

If you notice any of the above signs in your home, you’ll need to contact a pest controller immediately. Addressing the problem quickly can prevent it from worsening and affecting your home’s value. 

You should also get rid of termite in a house immediately if you notice them since they can contribute to infrastructure degradation over the long term.

Home appraisals and real estate inspections calculate a house’s value in San Antonio, TX.

In Conclusion: How to Get the Best Appraisal

Undergoing a home appraisal can be a daunting project—particularly if you’re a first-time buyer.

It’s one of many things you likely must do if you’re attempting to sell your home in an increasingly competitive market.

However, you can streamline the process by addressing the above issues immediately. Consider looking at comps and home sales in your area to get a better idea of what you need to do. While you can begin repairs and renovations immediately, you may wish to consult an expert before attempting large projects since they won’t always contribute to the final value of your home. 

You can also work with a real estate agent to learn more about the concerns of prospective buyers.

To avoid the complex process entirely, consider contacting home buyers near you. We buy houses San Antonio and other Texas locations residents are looking for and would be happy to help you learn more about the residential appraisal process.

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