Some factors, such as the neighborhood your home is in, can affect your appraisal value, and there's nothing you can do about it. Other factors, such as recent renovations, can actually help your home get a higher appraisal. You know a big kitchen remodel could increase home value, but you may not have time or money for that.
Here are some of the factors that you could improve with relative ease and at low cost if you have a little time and elbow grease to throw at a project.
1. Interior Visual Appeal
Visual appeal isn't just important on the outside of your house. Any improvements that give your home's appearance a well-cared-for, high-class look can do the trick.
One example of a quick and easy upgrade for interior visual appeal is to replace fixtures and door and cabinet knobs with high-quality, brand-new ones. These are small details that can really stand out, and the project is both affordable and potentially a DIY project.
2. Energy Efficiency
Greater eco-friendliness and energy efficiency could increase your home's value and appraisal. But to make your home more eco-friendly, you don't have to go all out and install solar panels (although that would definitely do the trick).
For a quicker and easier change, try adding a smart thermostat and swapping out your lighting for more energy-efficient light bulbs. Improving insulation and weatherstripping on your home could be next if you want to go a step further.
3. Curb Appeal
Sometimes, adding fresh mulch and a few low-maintenance landscaping plants can make all the difference for curb appeal. But before you start fancying up the landscape, check for any actual damage to the home's exterior and the driveway. Your appraiser will have every chance to notice driveway problems, so driveway crack repair should be first on your to-do list.
4. Neighbor's Yard
Maybe you can't always control this factor. But if you're on good terms with the neighbors, you could offer to tidy up the kid's toys in their yard and mow the lawn for them, or even power wash their house, before your appraisal. Remember, the entire neighborhood can affect your home's appraisal, and that includes the appearance of your neighbors' homes and yards.
5. Outdated Details
Does one element of your home (inside or outside) stick out like a sore thumb? An ancient garage door, sagging front yard fence, or trim color from the '60s? Replacing these may be a relatively DIY-friendly project. And since these are typically problems that could drag your appraisal value down, getting it out of the way can have a real tangible effect on your appraisal.
These are just a few examples of relatively quick projects you can perform before a home appraisal. If you're feeling stuck because you can't change your zip code and don't have the funds to replace your HVAC system, try some of these ideas instead.