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An appraiser is a professional who determines a home’s fair market value based on several criteria. That information can help a seller set a reasonable asking price, help a buyer avoid overpaying and help a lender avoid issuing a mortgage for more than a house is worth. These are key factors that an appraiser will consider.

This can include the characteristics of the neighborhood and your house’s position within it, such as whether it’s on a main road or situated on a corner. An appraiser will also consider the house’s proximity to a major city, businesses and amenities in the area, the quality of local schools, crime rates and other factors.

House’s Design and Condition
Your home’s square footage and numbers of bedrooms and bathrooms will affect its appraised value. Houses with more living space tend to appraise higher than smaller homes in the same area. A house with fewer bedrooms and bathrooms is unlikely to appeal to families. The size of your home’s garage and the amount of storage space will also be important when determining its value. 

An appraiser will consider your home’s overall condition. If the house needs major repairs or is outdated, it will likely have a lower value than a home that has been well maintained and updated. Serious problems, such as a leaky roof, and safety hazards, such as outdated electrical wiring or asbestos, can have a significant effect on the appraisal and may even cause a potential deal to fall through. On the other hand, if you have made updates and upgrades that increase your home’s energy efficiency, they can increase its value.

Your house’s design can influence whether it will appeal to buyers. Common designs attract the interest of a wide range of people. Unusual and unique designs will only draw interest from a small subset and may be a turnoff for most potential buyers.

The landscaping can also affect your home’s value. Lack of curb appeal can have a negative impact on an appraisal, while a well-maintained yard can have a positive effect. A yard with features that are hard to care for, however, may detract from your home’s value, even if they look beautiful.

Local Housing Market
Market conditions in the area can influence your home’s appraised value. An appraiser will consider how much comparable homes nearby have sold for recently and will use those sale prices for comparison purposes when assessing your house’s value.

An appraiser will also look at overall housing market trends. A seller’s market with more prospective buyers than homes available, may lead to a higher appraised value since demand exceeds supply. The opposite is true in a buyer’s market, when there are more homes available than interested buyers.