What Appraisers Look For

Home appraisals fit right in with a root canal or a trip to the DMV, dreaded but necessary. The good news is, unlike a root canal, you can take measures to make the process virtually pain-free.

Home inspections

Photo credit: (Warren Skalski, Photo for the Chicago Tribune)

When a professional comes to appraise your home, they note much more than neighboring areas and the current real estate market. The appraiser will notice any small problems that could turn into larger ones. If the value of your home is less than your asking price, it is usually up to you to pay the appraiser to come back a second time. This fee is usually an extra five hundred dollars.

A great way to prevent this is to check your house signs of major flaws in the roofing and water heating systems. These problems often start out small, but can explode into huge, expensive disasters on new homeowners; appraisers know this.


  • Check for moss or heavy leaves, as these cause your shingles to morph. Moss also holds water more efficiently than the average household sponge, so it may cause a roof leak in the near future.
  • Check for gutter debris and buildup. If you haven’t had your gutters looked at in a few years, it might not be a bad idea spending some money on them- it will save you more in the long run.

Water Heaters

  • A loud water heater usually means that the anode rod broke off and is hitting the sides of the tank. This noise may come from sediments like lime, but most of the time it is a broken rod. You can try replacing the rod and if you still hear the noise- you might need  to flush it out.
  • Additionally, your water heater has a safety switch, so if your valve is leaky then the water tank may turn off even if it is not overheating. If you notice your water heater turning off more than usual, have a professional look at it- because it is most likely a leaky valve.
  • Another thing that you need to look for will not be hard to do. If you notice your house is abnormally cold, it could mean that the pilot on your water heater will not stay lit. This usually means that you need to replace a bad thermocouple. This is not a recommended DIY project. A pilot that won’t light usually means the thermocouple is bad. It is not an easy DIY project, as small problems can create huge ones within the mechanics of the tank.
  • Keep notice of how often your hot water runs out. When selling a home, big families look for larger water tanks. If a family of five wants to move in, but the water-tank only allows for one shower every two hours- you may lose a sale. If you find your home is running out of hot water too often, it may be as simple as purchasing a larger tank.