Selling your home and nervous about what you need to do for the home appraisal? Don't be. There are certain key components a residential home appraiser looks for and uses to ascertain a value for a home. It will definitely help if your home doesn't have apparent defects and safety hazards. It will also help if your home is clean. However, most components you may not be able to do anything about. Appraisers will usually focus on the following:

Location, Location, Location

You may have heard the real estate phrase, "location, location, location." According to the website, in 1944 a gentleman by the name of Harold Samuel coined the phrase when he founded Land Securities, one of the United Kingdom's largest property companies. According to, it's said "the phrase could break down a great location into three levels: the suburb, the street and the position of the property itself." For example, desirable suburbs with sought-after schools will positively impact home values.

There may be streets in certain suburbs, areas or subdivisions that are more desired as well. The position of the property itself is extremely important. A home that backs to a busy road or is situated adjacent to a gas station, for example, will not bring as much value as a home that is nestled on a quiet cul de sac. Many real estate professionals agree that you can change a home, but not its location.

Size of Lot

The size of the land or lot that a home sits on is a key component in the appraisal. It's a fairly simple concept: typically, the more land or the larger size of the lot, the higher the home's value.

Square Footage

The square footage of your home is also one of the most important aspects of the appraisal. It makes sense that the more living square footage in homes, the higher their home values are. Most appraisers will consider above ground square footage more than square footage below ground. This is especially true if the below ground square footage isn't finished, such as in an unfinished basement.

Number of Bedrooms and Bathrooms

An appraisal form also has line items for the number of bedrooms and the number of bathrooms in a home. They consider both full bathrooms and half bathrooms. They give more value to full bathrooms.

Garage and Driveway

Your home's garage will be evaluated during an appraisal. A three-car garage has more value than a one or two-car garage. The driveway will also be considered. A concrete driveway has more value than an asphalt one or a driveway made of gravel.


Another key component in an appraisal is the number of stories your home has. A ranch-style home has less value than a two or three-story home. If a home has a basement or a sub-basement it also has more value. A home on a crawl space may have more value than one on a slab.

Amenities, Upgrades and Updates

An appraiser also considers the amenities, upgrades and updates in your home. A home with real hardwood flooring has more value than a home with vinyl tile flooring. A home with granite countertops has more value than one with laminate counters. A home with a brick exterior has more value than a home with vinyl siding. A home that has a new HVAC system will appraise higher. A home with a new roof and new windows will also appraise higher. The list goes on and on.

An appraiser will compare your home with a few others in the immediate area that have sold recently. An appraiser will adjust, add or subtract, to your home value in comparison with these other homes.