What does a Real Estate Appraiser Look For in a Property?

Whether you’re a buyer or seller, you may have a particular price in mind for your property. However, the amount of money that is involved in the transaction may differ from that of the mortgage lender. In order to achieve an objective assessment, the lender will assign an appraiser to look over the property and determine a market value. The condition of a dwelling, amenities and square footage are just a few important considerations that can influence value of a property. The following are property attributes an appraiser will use to assess the value and condition of a property.

Dwelling attributes

A property that is close to public transportation, schools and major expressways can have an impact on the price of a property, especially if it sits in a favorable community. Breathtaking views, what number floor a condo is on and proximity to the city can also affect the value of a property.

Living Area

Above grade living area that is finished is typically used when it comes to determining and calculating the square footage of the dwelling. While a finished basement may be considered and used as living space to the occupants of the dwelling, it’s usually not counted as square footage in the main dwelling, but handled separately.

Repair home
Dwelling with deferred maintenance.

Homes that need a lot of TLC and are in disrepair will be noted on the appraisal and negatively effect the market value. However, properly caring for a structure by properly maintaining it throughout the years can add dollar signs to the end amount. An appraiser will look to ensure that the structure has been kept up with routine household improvements such as a fresh coat of paint, new roof, updated flooring and repairing leaking faucets.


Amenities and Upgrades

Amenities and upgrades can be added to a dwelling to raise the overall value of a home. Improvements such as insulated doors and windows can save homeowner’s a substantial amount of money on heating and cooling costs. Swimming pools, privacy fences, security alarms, hot tubs and updated landscaping can increase the value of a property. Today’s consumer is also environmentally conscious and energy-efficient plumbing fixtures, electric systems and appliances can be added benefits that can raise a home’s price.

Site Attributes

Location, Location and Location can play a huge role in a home’s appraisal value. Factors an appraiser will take into consideration include the median income, city’s cost of living, popularity and geographical attributes. While a three bedroom home in a city such as New York or San Francisco can generate a high value, you’ll find a similar sized home in the Midwest to go for a significantly lower amount. Because the region may have a lower income level and cost of living, the home could appraise much lower.

External Influences

External influences of a neighborhood such as noise, industrial features and traffic can lessen a home’s value, especially when they are in the vicinity of an airport, train tracks or busy street.

Site Size

The square footage of a home, and the land that surrounds the dwelling is taken into consideration during the appraisal process. A plat survey map usually reports the dimensions and square footage of the site of the property. Generally, a larger site will indicate a higher value.


Important factors such as soil type, drainage, sewers, easements and where the home sits are topographical issues that should be taken into consideration during an appraisal. They can determine if the home is going to face structural issues, flood risks and other dangers that can hinder or harm the dwelling in the future. Other considerations include utilities such as electric, well, septic and city water.


Barns, sheds and gazebos are popular outdoor structures that can bring additional value to the property. An appraiser will look at the condition, size, use, and market demand of the structures to determine the amount that should be added to the value.

Decks and Patios

Decks, patios and landscaped yards are aesthetically pleasing. They can also add value to a home when they are well-maintained seasonally. With a little deck stain, sealer and by keeping the patio weed-free, you can have an outdoor oasis that’s the envy of the neighborhood.