As you move towards selling your home or even entering a refinance, you will need a home appraisal. Houston neighborhoods are hitting a stride in the market, and now is the time to understand what increases the value of your home appraisal so that you can get the most money for your home.
Home sale prices in Houston increased in 2020, and it was thanks to a few updates that offer the most value for an appraisal. We’ll show you what things to remodel in your home to get buyers interested and strengthen your sale price.
Factors That Increase Houston Home Appraisal
A property appraisal offers an analysis on the market value of your home. The appraisal is based on a variety of factors, such as:
- Age of your home
- Location of your home
- Previous sales price
Real estate appraisals are essential for selling your home at the best price. An appraisal on your Houston home can make or break your plans to sell for more money if you don’t take note of these things and try to update beforehand.
1. The Look of a New Home: Clean Out and Paint
Nothing scares an appraiser more than an old dirty home that’s difficult to walk through and see clearly. If you have a lot of clutter everywhere and everything looks old, you’ll likely start losing value as soon as the appraiser pulls up to the driveway.
Instead, clean out your home weeks before the appraisal. This increases your chances of a higher sales appraisal, especially if you have rooms filled with boxes and trash.
However, a fresh coat of paint really takes the years off your home. From the exterior to interior, a new coat of paint can cover up problem areas and make your home look like new again.
2. Fix or Replace Floors
The floors are often the first thing that home buyers in Houston look for. If you don’t have the budget to replace all of your flooring, then you may want to focus on the few areas that show damage. You may also have carpeted areas steam cleaned or tile grout professionally cleaned.
However, if you have the money to invest, new hardwood floors are the single best way to improve the value of your appraisal.
3. Closets, Kitchen, and Bathrooms
The layout of a home can’t always be helped at times, but if possible to update and even expand the space in your closets, kitchen, and bathrooms, then you’ll achieve a higher appraisal price.
There are a few things you can do to update the look of these areas if you can’t completely remodel. For example, you can:
- Remove old wallpaper
- Refinish countertops
- Paint cabinets
- Change out the light fixtures for a more modern look
If your kitchen appliances are very old, consider looking up “lightly used” new appliances if on a budget. The most important appliances include the refrigerator, dishwasher, ranges, and stoves.
Many home buyers simply want to see updated, newer, energy-rated appliances that may have some smart features. However, appraisals typically look for post-2015 appliances that are clean and properly functioning as a value factor.
4. More Curb Appeal
From the street, what does your home look like its worth? Appraisers spend a lot of time walking around the home and looking at the health of the property from the outside. A great first impression really helps when it comes to your overall appraisal.
The first step is to look at your home’s condition from the outside. Is the paint fading? Do the blinds look dated or broken? Are your windows dirty? How does the landscaping look?
You should spend time cleaning up overgrown flower beds, redoing mulch, cutting the lawn, and trimming back other bushes around the property.
The backyard also matters, and while you don’t need to install a new pool, it’s important to add elements of comfort. Decks or patios offer a lot of value, particularly if you have an elevated deck with a grill area and space for seating.
If you can, fence in the backyard and add some landscaping elements to beautify your property. In addition, use a pressure washer and clean up the patio to make it a better entertainment space.
For wood decks, you may want to sand down, then paint and stain with a weather-resistant coating to get the perfect look.
Some other things that add value to your outdoor areas include fire pits, wet bars, grillers, and safety gates.
5. Update Your Countertops
Most homes today feature granite or marble countertops. Granite is the preferred option as it provides a modern aesthetic for your home’s style but doesn’t need the maintenance of marble. Many homeowners also opt for quartz or even wood countertops as an alternative to granite.
Darker granite is the best option as it doesn’t stain. It takes time to measure, cut, and install granite so make sure to do this several weeks in advance of your appraisal.
6. Finish Your Basement
If you have a basement or den room in your house, these areas should be cleaned and updated. If your basement is more of a storage space, consider remodeling to finish your basement and create a new space.
Home entertainment rooms, laundry areas, and at-home gyms are a few good ideas that Houston home buyers are looking for.
7. Add a Home Office
For those who have multiple rooms, you may want to feature a home office.
Studies show that 42% of people work from home now, and that number has only increased due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Houston homes with multiple bedrooms may consider turning one of those spaces into a home office with shelves, great lighting, and even a library area.
Experts say it’s best to show off the versatility of the space, but you may be able to get more value by optimizing a home office for computers and charging devices, as well as a WiFi network that can cover the whole house.
8. Fix All Plumbing Problems
Old pipes, leaks, and plumbing problems can cause major issues for your home appraisal. Appraisers have to look at how your house works and determine the condition, as well as age.
Even though on paper your home may be new, your appraiser could assess your home as in poor working condition if there are multiple problems.
Plumbing is the best way to start fixing these issues. You can start by:
- Replacing old pipes
- Fixing leaky faucets
- Updating your sinks
In other cases, you may even consider adding a whole home water filtration system.
Many reports have shown that the US’ water quality is dropping in regions of Texas. This can be a major selling point for your appraiser and future home buyer.
9. Update All Light Fixtures
If you have old, faded, dirty light fixtures, it’s time to replace them. Many homes were originally built in the early 70s and 80s, which means the light fixtures could look very dated.
By just replacing these with modern industrial lighting or contemporary fixtures, you can improve the look of your interiors and impress the appraiser.
10. “Wow” Factors and Luxury Additions
Even though we’ve mentioned improving your fixtures, changing out your floors and cabinets, you should have certain “wow” factors that draw people to your property. This could be a soak bath tub with jets or maybe it’s a smart refrigerator.
Other options include a pool, new deck, or even a security system with motion cameras. These factors range from minor to essential for homebuyers in Houston looking for a new home.
One More Thing: Check Permits
Appraisers don’t take kindly to remodels and updates that were done without the proper permits. If you change any of the plumbing, add any rooms, or conduct any electrical re-wiring, it’s imperative that you have the right permits.
Otherwise, your home’s value will drop, and you may have issues with home insurance inspections too.
Did You Sell Your Houston Home?
Most home buyers are looking for updated, clean homes with new fixtures and appliances at the very least, but this all depends on the appraisal value. If planning on selling your home for cash, you may not have to fork over the bill for these renovations, as most cash buyers want a for sale as-is offer.
However, if you plan to talk to an appraiser within a few weeks, these updates need to be done well in advance. Appraisers have a shrewd eye for all kinds of housing problems, leaks, aging conditions, mold, and other signs that there could be more issues.
For example, radon gas leaks are commonly overlooked but if tested and found to be in your soil, you may have a major drop in your home’s value.