The home appraisal is the home’s estimated value as determined by a licensed appraiser. The appraiser considers the property being appraised as well as the price of similar recently sold homes in the area when calculating a home’s appraisal value.
What Factors Do Appraisers Consider in Florida?
Property appraisers in Florida assess properties based on their “just value” as of the first day of the current year. Also called “market value,” “just value” is the price a willing seller would pay in cash on the open market. Factors appraisers look at include:
- The present use of the property
- Expected highest and best use of the property in the immediate future
- Property’s location
- Size of property including both the lot and the home size
- Cost of the property and present replacement value of any improvements
- Property’s condition
- Income of the property
- Number of rooms, bedrooms, bathrooms, and other features of the home
Sellers can’t control all of these factors. For example, you can’t change what school district your home is located in. However, there are steps that you can take to increase your home’s appraisal value.
Ways to Improve Your Home’s Appraisal Value in Florida
The following actions may help you increase your home’s appraised value. Many will also make your home more appealing to potential buyers. Just consider whether the benefits—ie. selling your home for more money—outweighs the costs of the repairs or renovations.
Add a Bedroom
Appraisers consider the sale price of similar homes in the area when evaluating a home’s property value. A big factor used to determine similarity are the number of bedrooms and bathrooms.
If you own a single-bedroom home, your home will be compared to other single-bedroom homes. These tend to sell for much less compared to multi-bedroom homes. Adding a bedroom to your home before selling could help boost your home’s appraisal value and ultimately how much you’re able to sell it for.
Depending on which state you are in, you may be able to list your home with another bedroom if you simply add a closet to an existing room.
Add or Expand a Bathroom
Updating a half-bath to a full bath or adding another bathroom entirely can also increase your home’s appraisal value. For example, if you go from a one-bathroom home to a two-bathroom home, the appraiser will compare your home to similar two-bathroom homes in the area, which tend to sell for more than a single-bathroom home.
Improve the Home’s Exterior
Fenced-in yards, patios, decks, fireplaces, and pools can all positively affect a home’s appraisal value. Consider the amenities that nearby homes have to evaluate if adding any of these features to your property makes sense.
Make Structural Upgrades
If your current property has damaged or out-dated structural components, structural upgrades, such as a new roof, siding or windows, can boost your home’s appraisal value. Some to consider include:
- Updating the electrical, especially in homes with knob-and-tube
- Removing asbestos and other dated, hazardous materials
- Creating a deeper basement that could be converted into a living space or useful area
- Replacing the roof, especially if the current roof is over 20 years old
- Replacing damaged siding
- Adding insulation
- Installing high-quality windows and doors
- Installing hurricane shutters
Add Central Air
Properties with central air, especially in a warm weather state like Florida, receive higher appraisal values than homes without central air. Consider replacing your home’s window units or room AC units with a central air system. Potential buyers prefer central air, too.
Update the Home’s Interior
Appraisers consider the condition of your home’s interior features. This includes flooring, doors, windows, walls, light fixtures, plumbing, and more. High-quality flooring and countertops, stainless steel appliances, and other high-end updates can all bump up a home’s appraisal value.
Fix Noticeable Damage
Missing door knobs? Loose railings? Holes in the wall? Fixing damage like this can improve your home’s overall impression when the appraiser does a walk-through. These small and inexpensive fixes will also make your home more appealing to potential buyers.
Why is Appraisal Value Important?
Sellers can use appraisal value to help price their home for sale. Buyers and lenders want appraisals to protect their investments. An appraisal ensures that the buyer isn’t paying more than the home is worth. Depending on the market, a buyer may be open to purchasing a home that’s priced above its appraisal value, but they will likely need to cover the price over appraisal for the bank to be willing to finance the purchase.
If sellers can boost their home’s appraisal value, they’ll have an easier time selling the house for more. Additionally, some loan types, such as VA loans, require an appraisal to determine that the home meets minimum property requirements. Your home must meet those minimum requirements if you plan to sell to a buyer using a VA loan.
Your upgrades might not be worth their cost
If you are trying to increase your appraisal value, some items will be cost-effective and others won’t. For example, if you think your home will be easier to sell with a pool and will appraise higher, you could very well be right. That doesn’t mean that the investment makes sense though. You may spend $30,000 to build a pool and only see an increase of appraisal value of $15,000.
To increase your appraisal value always go for the low-hanging fruit first. Whatever you perceive will have a big impact on the value of the home, with the least cost to repair or improve. Rather than chasing an improved appraisal, think of how to solicit the best offer on your home from a buyer using these top strategies.