Avoid these 5 problems to help your home appraise for top dollar

alabama house value can be a puzzleIn my adventures as a real estate appraiser in Birmingham, Alabama I have seen a lot of things that decrease the value of your home. I thought I would share with you 5 problems I have seen recently so that you can avoid these value killers.

Moisture stains on your ceiling is a good sign that you may be having roof leaks. moisture stains on ceiling can hurt your homes valueWhile it is possible for this to be caused by condensation from an HVAC unit, I will guarantee you a potential buyer will picture the worst case scenario: the need to replace the whole roof. Even if the roof is already fixed, it is a good idea to repair the ceiling too so that it does not raise any red flags from buyers or appraisers. This would likely call for a roof inspection which could cost more money and delay the closing.

shoddy construction effects house appraisalsShoddy workmanship in some areas of your home’s construction can lead an appraiser to think that the whole house is not well built. This switch plate was in a home located in a neighborhood of $300,000 to $400,000 homes. All other visible areas of the home exhibited quality workmanship, but if makes you wonder about the home’s construction that you can’t see. Buyer’s will also be looking at things like this which can negatively effect an offer you get on the home.

Nothing good can come from plants growing out of your gutters, right? When gutters getplants in your gutter hurt your homes value backed up the water has to go somewhere, and it can be redirected into the home and cause interior ceiling leaks like the one previously mentioned. In addition, it can rot out the eaves of the house and create holes that  allow rodents to enter your home. This can effect possible offers on your home if it is listed for sale or can result in the house not appraising for top dollar.

Are clunkers good for your home's value?Factors outside of the house can be difficult to overcome, especially if you have no control over them. If it is on your own property you can make changes, but if it is on someone else’s property in the neighborhood then you have your work cut out for you. These cars were in a neighborhood I recently did some work in. Having broken down cars in your front yard contribute to what is known as neighborhood blight, which is just a fancy way of describing areas that are in a state of disrepair. When buyers drive through neighborhoods looking for a home, seeing broken down cars is usually just the outward signs of a neighborhood, and the homes within it, that has not been taken care of. This effects property values because these homes sell for less. Homeowners that are aware of this can be proactive and take steps to stop it before it becomes an issue.

There are other types of problems with homes besides ones that have to do with it’s condition. The design and layout can effect it’s value as well. I recently looked at a house with a bedroom that suffered from such a problem. The room in question was in a part of the house that required you to go through another bedroom to get to it.  In addition, it did not have a closet, which is standard in the bedrooms of modern homes. While this may have been typical and accepted years ago, and by the way this house was built in the 1950’s, it is not considered to be part of today’s “current market tastes and standards”.  The living area in this room was included in the final value, however the utility of an extra bedroom was not. You should be aware of this if you are looking for a home to buy because it can effect it’s appraisal value. It is possible to fix this type of problem by creating an access to it from another room, however the layout of the house would have to be considered to see if this is practical.

These are by no means a complete list of potential probems than can effect what a home appraises for but it reflects some things I have seen recently. Do you have a question about what might effect your home’s value? Leave me a message or give me a call I would enjoy speaking with you about it.

If you have any real estate appraisal related questions you can call me at 205.243.9304, email me, or connect with me on Facebook., Twitter, or Youtube.




  1. Nice job, Tom. Moisture issues can be a big deal because of the potential for mold issues. You’re so right about that.

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