Can a “Messy House” Make My House Appraise For a Lower Amount?

The short answer to this question is “no”.  You may think this is an odd topic for a post but I get asked this question more than any other, and it is usually asked by the lady of the house.  I normally take pictures of every room because it helps me to remember things about the house (in addition to my written notes), and more and more banks are requiring us to include interior photos in our reports.

I like to inform the homeowner that I will be taking pictures during the inspection so they can straighten up if they want to.  That is when I get asked this question.  I explain to them that the photos help readers of the report to know exactly what condition the home was in at the time of the inspection.  The lenders are more concerned with the physical condition of the home such as holes in the walls or ceilings, etc. as opposed to whether a bed is made.  This usually results in a sigh of relief.  So don’t sweat it if an appraiser is coming to your home.  If you don’t have time to make that bed or pick up the laundry it won’t hurt your appraisal value.


  1. Eugene Real Estate Guy says

    It doesn’t hurt homeowners to think that however. Dirty houses don’t hurt values on the books, but it definitely effects the value in the eyes of buyers.

    • You are right. That is a totally different story, however. I would highly recommend cleaning and staging the home for showing to potential buyers. What I was suggesting was that during the appraisal inspection the appraiser is really looking at the structure of the home and to make sure there were no needed repairs or structural damage. Thanks for your input.

  2. I’ve heard this one before too. There sure is a difference between words like “messy” and “filthy”.

    • Ryan, you are right. I have had someone also say they needed an extra day to clean things up but if I would have given them a month it probably still would not have happended!

  3. Tom, Very frequent question, indeed. Also, with Fannie Mae’s selling guide, there are some new appraiser guidelines including photo requirements.

    Per the most recent version dated 6/30/10, interior photo at a minimum include:
    -the kitchen, ALL bathrooms, main living area, examples of physical deterioration and updates.

    • Thanks for the info. Wendell. I have been doing this all along (as I’m sure you have too) so it should not be any really big change, but at least the homeowner will know that it is required by the lender.

  4. Great blog post, I am asked the same question all of the time. It’s funny because I say something very similar about the lender being more concerned with holes in the walls. Love the pics too!


  1. […] value.  Major filth can attract pests and rodents which is a whole other story.  You can read a past blog regarding this […]

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