Preparing to refinance your mortgage: How to increase home value for appraisal

by Meg Johnston Burke 09/10/2023

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Homeowners wanting to refinance their mortgage often wish to know how to increase home value for appraisal purposes. The higher the appraised value, the more cash in your pocket from the refinancing. But which upgrades and changes can make the most considerable difference?

Here are some ways you can increase home appraisal value before the appraiser arrives:

What increases the value of a home refinance?

When preparing for refinancing, you can use many of the same strategies employed by home staging experts. Some basic changes you can make involve deep cleaning, refreshing finishes, removing clutter and improving your curb appeal.

What appraisers search for to determine value

Regardless of age or location of your home, an appraiser will focus on the following characteristics:

  • The condition of both the interior & exterior.
  • The total number of rooms, including bedrooms and bathrooms.
  • Improvements or upgrades made to kitchens, baths, windows, roof and major home systems.

Other factors important to the appraisal process include:

  • The home's location, both in the context of the neighborhood and general area.
  • Any unappealing or distracting exterior features of the home, such as inconsistent architectural style elements in comparison with the rest of the neighborhood.

What adds most value to house appraisal?

The best way to add value to an appraisal report is to improve and repair any existing issues with structural elements or major systems. Replacing or repairing plumbing, HVAC and electrical will add to your home's useful life and overall value. Simple cosmetic changes like fresh paint, new kitchen cabinets and updated bathroom fixtures are also a major plus.

What hurts a home appraisal for refinance?

Just as there are things you can do to improve your appraisal value, there are things you should definitely avoid. Messy landscaping, dilapidated exterior finishes and other signs of disrepair will lower your score.

Broken appliances and outdated heating, ventilation and electrical systems are also major red flags to an appraiser. Make sure to replace any stained carpet and replace damaged flooring materials as well.

If you need help determining what changes would help your home get the best possible appraisal, you can consult an appraisal management company or real estate agent for advice. Knowing what will make the most significant difference can help you save money on repairs and upgrades to get the most from your refinancing.

About the Author

Meg Johnston Burke

Meg & Loudoun County: Back in 1993, we moved here from Pennsylvania, thinking we'd stay for a year or two -- well clearly, Loudoun is "home" now! In the past, I was a broadcast advertising rep (Philly market) and an at-home mom, until 2000, when I jumped into the real estate business. Even with all the ups & downs, I've loved this business (& especially my clients) ever since!