You’ve decided it’s time to put your house on the market or refinance your mortgage. When selling your home, a professional home appraisal is required. Having an unbiased opinion of the value of your home gives a clear picture to buyers of its worth.

There are some factors that are out of your control—like the value of nearby homes and proximity to good schools—but with a few simple steps you can help increase the value of your home. Preparing ahead of time will give you a better chance of getting favorable results. After all, you want the most money for your home.


  • Review past appraisals: Has your home been appraised in the past? Review the appraisal and address the issues before your next appraisal.
  • Compile important documents: You want to inform your appraiser of any improvements you have made, proof of your home’s last sale price, and a land survey that shows your property size. Giving receipts for improvements will reflect positively on your appraisal.
  • Check safety equipment: Make sure your security alarms, smoke alarms, and carbon monoxide alarms are installed and working properly.
  • Have a critical eye: Take a walk around your home and look for any damage. Look for things like loose floorboards, gutter damage, and roof leaks. Did you find minor repairs that need to be fixed? Touch up the chipped paint or replace the broken doorknob. Overlooking these simple repairs can decrease your home’s value.
  • Curb appeal: Simple maintenance to improve your curb appeal will help improve first impressions. Clean your gutters, trim the hedges, clear debris, and clean the landscape to give your home a more attractive look.
  • Look at other homes in your neighborhood: Look at the prices of homes sold in your area recently. Their appraisals are public record, so take a look at problems they might have encountered and evaluate them on your own home.
  • The $500 rule: As a general rule, if there are small issues like damaged floor tiles, a broken door, old wallpaper, or an outdated bathroom, you will take $500 hits in the total home value for each. So, if you see problems that cost less than $500 to fix, you’re best off fixing them instead of losing thousands in your home’s value.


When it is time for the appraiser to come, you will most likely be home. Make sure you point out the finer features of your home, including recent improvements and special assets. Give the appraiser some space to look around but take some time to point out the items that make your home unique. Lastly, always keep the golden rule in mind. If it’s not broken, don’t fix it. Spend your time and money on things that clearly need attention.