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Do Appraisers Look Under Sinks | What Real Estate Appraisers Look At During An Appraisal! 9105 Votes This Answer

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Do Appraisers Look Under Sinks? Yes, you can expect a home appraisal to check under the sink to make sure there isn’t any water damage or problems hiding. Don’t stress about the storage of bags and dish soaps but do make sure the area is clean and accessible.

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Have you ever wondered what real estate appraisers look for when determining your home value? Let’s shed light on the mysteries of what real estate appraisers look at during an appraisal!
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When it comes to a home appraisal, we don’t often hear about \”above-value\” appraisals and, more often than not, we’re fixated with your home value coming in at the contract price. On the other hand, we’ve all heard about \”low appraisals\” which stoke fear about the appraisal process.
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1. What do appraisers look for when determining a property’s value?
2. What does an appraiser look for in a house!
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1. 0:57 – What \”exactly\” do appraisers appraise? The 5 main categories of the real estate appraisal process!
2. 1:03 – Category 1: The exterior of your home!
3. 2:03 – Category 2: The size of your property!
4. 2:37 – Category 3: The interior condition of your house!
5. 3:03 – Category 4: Your home improvements!
6. 4:04 – Category 5: Features \u0026 amenities of your house!
7. 4:45 – How does an appraiser determine the value of your home?
8. 6:24 – How to challenge a \”low appraisal!\”
9. 8:30 – 6 Ways to avoid a low home appraisal!
10. 11:33 – Real estate appraisal myths!
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At the time of production, Andrew Finney, S.0173260, is a real estate salesperson with King Realty Group (KRG) in Las Vegas, NV. Andrew’s videos are his own and do not necessarily represent the views and/ or opinions of KRG. The purpose of Andrew’s videos is to educate you and help you make sense of the real estate process. I am not a CPA, attorney, insurance, contractor, lender, or financial advisor. If you have questions about home loans, real estate, taxes, financial advice, real estate law, insurance, professional trades, or any other services, you are advised to reach out to the appropriate professional for further counsel about your own unique situation. The content in these videos shall not be construed as tax, legal, insurance, construction, engineering, health \u0026 safety, electrical, financial advice, or any other and may be outdated or inaccurate; it is your responsibility to verify all information for yourself. We have taken reasonable steps to check that the information in this video is accurate but we cannot represent that is free from error. Linked items may create a financial benefit for Andrew Finney Team. Any use of other media is by fair-use or license only.
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Do appraisers look under sinks? –

As an appraiser, I do not look under kitchen sinks unless I want to see if there’s a garbage disposal. I’m not a building inspector.

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Do Appraisers Really Look at These Items? (Insights from real …

Real estate appraisers will look under sinks. A typical appraisal form for lending may ask whether there is disposal.

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The reason why I look under kitchen sinks

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The Ultimate Home Appraisal Checklist – SimpleShowing

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11 Things Appraisers Look for During a Home Appraisal

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8 Interesting Things Appraisers Notice About Your Home

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What Do Appraisers Look for in a Refinance? –

The appraiser will also be on the lookout for negative features when appraising your home. These can include an outdated kitchen, peeling paint, leaking pipes, …

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What To Expect From A Home Appraisal? – Moving QA

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What Real Estate Appraisers Look at During an Appraisal!
What Real Estate Appraisers Look at During an Appraisal!

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  • Author: Andrew Finney Team
  • Views: 183,586 views
  • Likes: 3,537 likes
  • Date Published: Apr 25, 2019
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Top 7 Surprises That Hurts Home Appraisals

Do home appraisers look in closets? How about the garage? It can be nerve wracking to prepare for a home appraisal — knowing that the price they set will largely determine how much you can sell your home for — and you may be wondering just how thorough a home inspection will be. Read more to see what affects home appraisals.

Home Appraisal: What To Expect

An appraisal is completed by an unbiased, certified, professional who uses several different factors to determine your home value. Appraisals are an important part of the home selling process as they help set the asking price for the home and help the bank determine how much loan they will offer to potential buyers. An appraiser will visit your home in person and make a visual inspection of your home inside and out. They are filling out an appraisals report which includes information like:

Age of home

Quality and materials in the roof

Number of Bed/Bath and stories

Square footage (if you see them with a tape measure, this is why)

The quality of the foundation

Type of neighborhood

Curb appeal and parking situation (including garage)

What the home is made of including floor and walls

The current housing market

Basement and attic (finished, usable space or not)

With this information they use comparable sales in your area and determine an appraisal price for the home.

Do Appraisers Look in Closets?

So how nosy does an appraiser get? Will they open closet doors? Yes, they probably will– though not to see how tidy you are. An appraiser might need to see how big a closet is and measure the area to include in the floor space. If you have a messy closet space or you are tempted to shove and hide some items in the closet to get it out of the way while the appraiser is visiting then think again and prepare that space so you aren’t embarrassed by what might fall out during an appraisal.

Do Appraisers Look in Garages?

Yes, an appraiser will look in the garage. They need to determine the space (how many cars it can hold) and include it in the official appraisal. While the garage isn’t usually the most show-worthy part of your home just keep in mind that an appraiser will be checking the function of the space — is the concrete cracked, does the garage door work, etc.

Do Appraisers Look in Cupboards?

Not necessarily. Cupboard space doesn’t equate for much in a home appraisal. If they cupboards are about to fall off the walls then that might lead to further inspection, but otherwise the contents of your cupboards are for your eyes only.

Does a Messy House Affect a Home Appraisal?

While an appraiser isn’t supposed to take in the cleanliness of the home as a factor in the appraisal, it is definitely possible for junk, odor, visible dirt and other messes to unconsciously bias the appraiser and not in a good way. A messy home can be a red flag that the home isn’t well cared for and it could encourage the appraiser to look more closely to see what the mess could be hiding. Do yourself a favor and deep clean the home before an appraiser visits so you don’t negatively affect your home appraisal.

Do Appraisers Look Under Sinks?

Yes, you can expect a home appraisal to check under the sink to make sure there isn’t any water damage or problems hiding. Don’t stress about the storage of bags and dish soaps but do make sure the area is clean and accessible.

Do Unfinished Projects Affect Home Appraisals?

Unfinished projects, we’ve all got them, but do they hurt a home appraisal? Well, the answer is, it depends. If you have major renovations that are pending — such as a half finished basement or a missing tub in a bathroom, then yes, that can affect the final appraisal price of your home. Keep in mind that most people aren’t looking to flip a property or move in and be saddled with months of projects, your home will be much more attractive if all the major projects are complete and the return on investment of the project will usually pay off when you sell the home.

Home Appraisal Do’s and Don’ts:

Do deep clean.

Having a home free of clutter and messes will help the appraiser do their job quickly and efficiently. Don’t give them a reason to linger or wonder if water damage is actually what’s hiding behind a pile in the corner. Home appraisers often take photos so prepare your home as if you’ll be showing your home and you’ll have nothing to worry (or be embarrassed) about.

Do finish noticeable projects.

If you have half finished house projects that call attention then take a moment to finish them before the appraisal. Don’t sweat the small stuff that really doesn’t matter like dust on a ceiling fan or a broken couch but do pay attention to the half-painted bedroom or the missing cupboard doors.

Do itemize and list money amounts for any upgrades you’ve done on the home.

There is nothing wrong with making sure the appraiser knows about any upgrades or fixes you’ve done on the home while living there. Give the appraiser an itemized list with the money amounts, there is no guarantee it will positively affect the appraisal but it doesn’t hurt. It’s always good for the appraiser to know if you paid for a top-of-the-line furnace or installed a hot tub that will be staying with the home.

Don’t talk down your house to the appraiser.

If the appraiser asks questions keep your answers simple — if they ask about the roof don’t tell them about the leak you had to fix last year. The appraiser will do their own due diligence to determine the state of the home and any comments you might make could actually give a negative impression of your home. Keep it simple and keep it positive.

Don’t forget to tidy the yard.

Curb appeal does matter to a home buyer and it matters to a home appraiser. They’ll be looking at the state of the home from the outside as well as the inside so don’t forget to make sure the yard is looking it’s best.

If Your Home Appraisal Comes Back Low, What Can You Do?

Appraisals aren’t an exact science so if your appraisal comes back much lower than you expected you can reach out to the appraiser to get a copy. See if you spot any mistakes and potentially petition the appraiser to reconsider if you’ve spotted problems with their work. It is possible that there are just too many factors that hurt your home appraisal — bad foundation, roof or broken air and heating systems will all cause it to take a hit. If you know your home has some issues and you can’t afford to tackle them before selling then it might be in your best interest to skip the stress, time and money involved with getting your home appraised and instead seek out a non-traditional home buyer. Gary Buys Houses is a trusted home buying company in Utah and Gary specializes helping people in tricky selling situations to quickly and easily sell their homes for cash, no appraisal needed. Contact Gary today and get an offer on your home.

Do Appraisers Really Look at These Items? (Insights from real estate appraisers)

(**) Disclosure: This post may contain affiliate links, meaning our company, JCHQ Publishing will get a commission if you decide to make a purchase through the links, but at no additional cost to you.

A real estate appraiser will look at the interior and exterior of a property, such as bedrooms, living room, dining area, basement, kitchen, yard, and landscaping. They will assess the structure, overall condition, materials used, and functionality of a home. In short, appraisers will look at any items that may affect a property’s value.

But do real estate appraisers really pay attention to every detail about a property? For example, do appraisers look under the sink? the closet? garage? Although inspecting these items might sound uncommon, I do see that many people are looking for answers to these questions.

Therefore, I spent days researching this topic and read through some of the contents of the Handbook 4000.1. (Well, I definitely did not read through the entire booklet since it has 1009 pages! I only read the topics that are relevant to this post.)

I also connected with several industry participants and included their views in this post.

But before we start, I want to give a brief disclaimer. This post is merely for general information only and not intended to provide any advice or appraisal training. I’m only sharing what I had researched. The information is subjected to change without notice and not guaranteed to be error-free. You should always follow the State Laws and appraisal best practices.

Taking high-quality appraisal courses allows you to keep up with the best practices and remain competitive in the industry. When choosing a real estate school to complete the CE requirement, selecting one with an excellent reputation is important. McKissock is a trustworthy real estate education provider. You may click here to see the appraisal courses offer in your state. (**)

A poll on what appraisers will do when inspecting a property

I created a poll on social media asking appraisers what they will do when inspecting a property and received 142 votes. (Some of the votes could be from the same person because I asked them to choose all options that are applicable.)

After I created this infographic, there are 3 more votes from appraisers that they would use the bathroom in the subject property.

Do appraisers look under sinks?

Real estate appraisers will look under sinks. A typical appraisal form for lending may ask whether there is disposal. Therefore, appraisers will look under the kitchen sink and take a picture.

Furthermore, when working on appraisal for HUD/FHA/VA, appraisers are required to check for leaks or structural damage under fixtures.

For example, Ryan Lundquist, Certified Residential Real Estate Appraiser serving the Greater Sacramento Region, wrote a blog post called, “The reason why I look under kitchen sinks.”

He always sees the space under the kitchen sink to be dark, cluttered, and even dank. Although he would not report them as mold (since he’s not a mold specialist), he would disclose it as an “unknown blackish substance” under the kitchen sink and recommend further inspection by a qualified professional.

He also included a standard disclaimer about reserving the right to change the appraised value in light of new information.

Will an appraiser report unpermitted work?

An appraiser will report unpermitted work. But whether that could increase or decrease the property value is subjected to many factors.

Ryan Lundquist has another blog post called “What do appraisers do when there are no permits on an addition?” He explains that the quality of the unpermitted addition could play a huge factor in whether the buyer would pay more or less. For example, does it complement the rest of the house? Does it have a permanent heat source? Also, is this a minor addition like a covered patio? Or is the addition makes up a significant house of the house?

Some lenders are more concerned about the marketability of the unpermitted work, so they would ask appraisers not to include those areas as square footage. Some would even decline the loan application completely whenever this is non-permitted addition.

Do appraisers turn on faucets?

In theory, appraisers would flush toilets, turn on all faucets and ensure that both hot and cold water are working. Also, the water pressure must be adequate for the house.

But practically speaking, I connected with several real estate appraisers, and they do not prefer to turn on the valve themselves. One appraiser shared with me once he twisted the valve under the house, water was spraying all over the kitchen. It turned out that when the sellers took the fridge and didn’t tie off the tubing to the ice maker. So the appraiser ended up mopping the floor and clean up the mess.

Due to the potential liability issue, some appraisers show hesitation in turning on the valve themselves and prefer the home owner or agent to do so.

In our litigious society, appraisers are increasingly vulnerable to many kinds of liability. Although liability cannot be eliminated entirely, it can be managed. Here’s a CE course on how to manage appraiser liability. (**) Be sure to check it out!

Do appraisers look at roofs?

Appraisers will put the roofs into the valuation model. Many mortgage lenders expect appraisers to bring to their attention if the roof has a physical life of less than two years. The appraiser would need to report if the roof covering does not prevent the entrance of moisture.

Having said that, most real estate appraisers that I’ve talked to do not go on roofs. They will try to see whatever they can from the ground. Sometimes, they may be able to spot comp shingles that are curling or missing. They may look at other elements of the house in forming a general conclusion as to the condition of the roof.

Appraisers will also obtain the roof information from the real estate agent, homeowner, and MLS. A lot of helpful info can be gathered from the listing history of a property.

However, there are some exceptions for appraisers going on to the roof. I talked to a CG appraiser in Ohio. He handles the commercial, and insurance diminution claims, including roofing failure claims. He would go on roofs for many projects, but only when they are flat and have a stair or permanent ladder access.

According to the Handbook 4001.1, if the appraiser cannot view the roof, they must explain why it is unobservable. Then they are required to report the assessment results of the underside of the roof, the attic, and the ceilings.

But if there is any concern, appraiser may recommend a roof inspection which is qualified to express an opinion on the roof’s condition.

Do appraisers look in closets?

Appraisers do look in closets to count the square footage of the area. But what is in your wardrobe has no impact on the appraised value.

From the same logic, an appraiser will have no reason to look in the cabinets because they do not need to open them to measure living space. Well, unless there are obvious signs of disrepair, broken hinges, infestation.

Do appraisers look in a garage?

Appraisers will look at a garage. A few months ago, I talked to Jamie Owen, a Certified Residential Real Estate Appraiser in Brecksville, Ohio.

He shared that having a garage almost always increases the market value of a home. The value increase depends on several factors, such as the market area, size of the garage, and the quality of construction. The only time that could have a negative influence is when the garage’s condition is sub-par.

Here is a post I wrote on the different types of garages. You can also find Jamie’s view on how it can affect a property’s value.

Do appraisers look at appliances?

Appraisers will look at appliances such as refrigerators, ranges/ovens, dishwashers, disposals, microwaves, and washers/dryers.

“The Appraiser must note all appliances that remain and contribute to the Market Value” Quote from FHA Single Family Housing Policy Handbook.

Furthermore, if there is an FTV Property Inspection, the Mortgagee is required to empty and wipe clean the interior of all refrigerators and freezers. Also, the exterior clothes dryer vents and similar openings must be secured to prevent the entry of pests.

Do appraisers look at attics?

Appraisers must observe the interiors of attic spaces. They need to report whether there is any deficient condition (i.e., a water-stained ceiling, lack of ventilation, or smell of mold) and render the appraisal subject to inspection and repairs if necessary.

But in many instances, there could be limited access to the attic. So observation by only having the head and shoulders in the attic would be good enough.

However, if there is no way to inspect the attic, appraisers do not need to cut open walls, ceilings, or floors. They can make a note of the lack of accessibility to the area in the appraisal report or complete the appraisal subject to inspection by a qualified third party.

Do appraisers look at a swimming pool?

Appraisers will look at a swimming pool. According to the HouseLogic study, a pool may increase a property sale price by 7 percent, at most. They could be more desirable in warm climate areas such as Florida or Hawaii.

If the property is in a higher-end neighborhood and most of the neighbors have pools, not having one might make the home hard to sell.

Under the guidelines in Handbook 4000.1, appraisers must report readily observable defects in a non-covered pool that would render the pool inoperable or unusable.

Also, appraisers can only provide a full Contributory Value if the swimming pool is operational. The appraisal needs to specify whether the pool has unstable sides or structural issues that need to be repaired.

In some instances, it may require to be permanently filled in accordance with local guidelines, and the surrounding land may need to be re-graded.

If the appraiser cannot determine whether the pool is working, (i.e., it has been winterized.), then the appraisal must include the extraordinary assumption that the pool and its equipment can be restored to full operating condition at normal costs.

Will appraisers look at paint?

Real estate appraisers do not pay attention to the paint color of walls. They are trained to look beyond the decorative or staging design in determining the fair value of the property.

However, if it is an FHA appraisal and the house was built prior to 1978, the appraiser will have to scrape and paint areas where the paint is chipping and peeling.

I did some digging on it. It seems that there had been a problem with lead paint poisoning for some houses built before 1978. According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), sellers, landlords, and their agents will be responsible for providing this information to the buyer or renter before sale or lease.

Do appraisers look for code violations?

Appraisers will look at code violations especially if it is related to a health and safety issue. They are required to contact the lender for further instructions before completing the appraisal.

“FHA guidelines require that a site be rejected if the property being appraised is subject to hazards, environmental contaminants, noxious odors, offensive sights or excessive noises to the point of endangering the physical improvements or affecting the livability of the property, its marketability, or the health and safety of its occupants. Rejection may also be appropriate if the future economic life of the property is shortened by obvious and compelling pressure to a higher use, making a long-term mortgage impractical.” APPENDIX D: VALUATION PROTOCOL

The lender may require an inspection or reject the property. For those conditions that cannot be repaired (i.e., site factors), the appraised value is based upon the existing conditions.

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What do Appraisers Look for? Valuable Insights from Jamie Owen

In order to have a better understanding of the appraisal process, I consulted Jamie Owen. He is a Certified Residential Real Estate Appraiser in Ohio with decades of experience in the appraisal industry. I’m confident that we can all learn a great deal from his expertise.

(On a separate note, if you want to know Jamie’s journey in becoming a real estate appraiser, you must check out this exclusive interview.)

There are so many items in a house. How do you determine what to check for when inspecting a property for an appraisal assignment?

Jamie: “When it comes to the inspection, typically, we appraisers will view each room of the house, including the basement. We are not home inspectors, so what we are looking for are readily observable that would affect the safety, soundness, or sanitary condition of the home.

For instance, a drained pool without a cover could be considered a safety issue. Or exposed wiring could be an issue. We will consider the flow of the home. Is there any type of functional issue? Do you have to go through one bedroom to get to the other? That could have an impact on market value.

In addition to repairs. we also look for things that have both a positive and negative impact on market value. Upgrades, quality, finishes and things like that. If the appraisal inspection is for FHA, there are additional things that we must do as part of our inspection.

For instance, we must make a head and shoulders view of the attic and crawl space, if there is an attic or crawl space. Remember, we are looking for things that are readily observable as we walk through the home. If there is an issue that is not easy to see, we may not catch it. ”

Do you have a standard appraisal checklist for inspecting a property? Or does each appraisal assignment have a different requirement?

Jamie: “For most appraisals, I don’t use a checklist anymore. Some appraisers do. For FHA inspections, there is a list of additional things appraisers must do. We must turn on the furnace and a/c (if weather permits turning on the a/c). We must turn on the sink faucets to ensure they dispense hot water, and to make sure that they are not leaking.

We must make sure that windows are operational in the bedrooms. The attic and crawl space must have proper ventilation, along with other specific requirements. We must measure the distance from the septic system to the well and then to the leach bed, as well as the well to the property line. There are a lot of additional things that FHA requires.”

Have you encountered any cases which require checking for something unconventional in an appraisal?

Jamie: “I have encountered situations that would call for an inspection from a qualified professional. For instance, if there is a mold-like growth in a home, we may have to call for it to be tested to make sure it is not toxic mold. We are not qualified to make that determination.

Sometimes cracks in the foundation need to be inspected by a qualified professional to make sure that they are not structural and/or in need of repair. Sometimes strange electrical situations that may call for a qualified professional to inspection.

The same is true for roofs. A roof may appear to have a leak, or some other adverse situation. In that case we would call for a qualified professional to inspect it.”

Have there been lots of changes to the appraisal requirement?

Jamie: “With regards to changes in scope of work when it comes to inspections, I really don’t believe that there have been any major changes since I started appraising in 1998. The inspection process is straight forward. FHA has made a few changes to what they require. However, for the most part, things have remained generally the same with regards to inspections, at least in my experience.“

Disclaimer: The information in this post is for general information only, and not intend to provide any advice. They are subjected to change without any notice, and not guaranteed to be error-free. Some of the posts on this site may contain views and opinions from individual not related to JCHQ Publishing. They do not necessarily reflect our view or position.

(**) Affiliate Disclosure: Please note that some of the links above are affiliate links, and at no additional cost to you. Our company, JCHQ Publishing will earn a commission if you decide to make a purchase after clicking on the link. Please understand that we include them based on our experience or the research on these companies or products, and we recommend them because they are helpful and useful, not because of the small commissions we make if you decide to buy something through the links. Please do not spend any money on these products unless you feel you need them or that they will help you achieve your goals.


Sacramento Appraisal Blog The reason why I look under kitchen sinks (source) What do appraisers do when there are no permits on an addition? (source)

U.S Department of Housing and Urban Development Handbook 4000.1 (source) Appendix D: Valuation Protocol (source)

HouseLogic – Do Swimming Pools Add Value to Homes (source)

United States Environmental Protection Agency EPA and HUD Move to Protect Children from Lead-Based Paint Poisoning; Disclosure of Lead-Based Paint Hazards in Housing (source) Real Estate Disclosures about Potential Lead Hazards (source)

Safety Culture – FHA Appraisal Checklist (Health & Safety) (source)

Author Jacob Coleman Jacob is a content writer and a real estate investor. He has experience working with different real estate professionals throughout the years. (i.e., appraisers, real estate agents, property managers, home inspectors.) In order to build a career you love, Jacob believes not only you need a thorough understanding about the profession, but you also have to find out what type of jobs could match your personality, lifestyle and expectation.

The reason why I look under kitchen sinks

I don’t know about you, but there are two reasons why I don’t let my kids play under the kitchen sink: 1) There are too many chemicals, so it’s an obvious safety issue; and 2) I honestly can’t stand to work under the sink, so I don’t want my kids to mess anything up, which might cause me to have to spend time there. After installing a new kitchen faucet recently, I vigorously stand by this point.

In truth, after inspecting thousands of homes, I can safely say the space under the kitchen sink can often be dark, cluttered and even dank. Other than checking for a garbage disposal, I always look in this area because it can be a hot spot for issues that need to be resolved (often quick and easy repairs).

It’s okay if things are not tidy under your sink. But when I do see an “unknown blackish substance,” it’s something I need to disclose in the appraisal report. I never say “mold” as an appraiser because I’m not a mold specialist, but when I do see something like the photo above, I require the issue to be cured. It’s probably a very quick fix and a sincerely minor issue, but I can never make that assumption. The photos above are before & after shots from an FHA loan, and I simply disclosed there was an “unknown blackish substance” under the kitchen sink, and it needed to be cured. I was careful not to call the substance mold, fungus or even say it was growing. I did recommend further inspection by a qualified professional, and I included a standard disclaimer about reserving the right to change the appraised value in light of new information.

In the example above, the issue was easily cured (probably by using some basic products from Home Depot) and the loan closed without a problem. This is not usually an enormous red flag issue that buyers and sellers need to freak out about, but it is something that should be resolved.

Four Quick Recommendations:

If you are a buyer, look under the sink to know what is there. If you are an agent, look under the sink to know what is there. If you are an appraiser, look under the sink to know what is there. If you are a seller, be aware the appraiser might call for repairs if seeing something like the photo above. It might be worth curing the problem before the appraiser comes (I’m not saying you should hide the issue if you know you have a mold problem).

Question: Do your kids play under the sink?

If you have any questions or Sacramento home appraisal or property tax appeal needs, let’s connect by phone 916-595-3735, email, Twitter, subscribe to posts by email (or RSS) or “like” my page on Facebook

The Ultimate Home Appraisal Checklist

It goes without saying that you want to make as much back from the sale of your home as possible.

What doesn’t go without saying is how much your house is actually worth.

That’s why many homeowners have an appraisal done before they put their house on the market. If you don’t get one done, you could risk pricing your house so high that no one wants it or too low that your profit margins suffer.

If you do decide to move forward with an appraisal, you’ll want to go through this home appraisal checklist to make sure you’re ready before you have your house valued by a professional.

How to Prepare for a Home Appraisal

Appraisals answer the all-important question, “How much is my house worth?”

As such, you should make every effort to prepare your house for an appraiser. Otherwise, you might get an answer you don’t like simply because your house wasn’t looking its best.

First, don’t confuse an appraisal with a home inspection. An inspection determines the condition of your house, whereas an appraisal establishes your home’s value. Specifically, an appraiser is interested in reporting its market value.

Second, get clear about what an appraiser will do to determine this value:

A property inspection – Appraisers will still carry out inspections but only for the sake of establishing your home’s worth.

– Appraisers will still carry out inspections but only for the sake of establishing your home’s worth. An evaluation of local comparables – Similar to a comparable market analysis, appraisers want points of reference to evaluate your home’s value relative to similar properties in the area.

Third, understand what a home appraisal is not.

It’s not an inspection of your home’s upkeep. While it never hurts to tidy up, some homeowners worry that the odd dirty dish in the sink or a child’s unmade bed will unfavorably tip the scales.

An appraisal is all about how much your home could potentially go for if sold in its current condition. As those kinds of housekeeping issues wouldn’t come up in a sale, they won’t come up in an appraisal, either.

What Does an Appraiser Look for?

Again, it makes sense that you’d want to prepare your home before an appraisal.

So, while some factors will be completely out of your hands, it’s worth knowing what the appraiser will look at.

The Exterior Appraisal

A good example of a feature you can’t influence but will most certainly matter to the value of your home is the size of your lot.

As we already touched on, the condition of your property will also come into play. The appraiser will look for any issues that would drop your home’s resale value. If your home was built before 1979, this will include looking for peeling paint and checking to see if it was made with lead.

They’ll also look for any features that would bolster its value (e.g. an inground pool).

Interior Appraisals

Inside your home, an appraiser will confirm the numbers of bedrooms and bathrooms in your house. The same goes for windows and closets. Although it won’t contribute to the square footage of your home, they’ll inspect your garage, as well.

They will also take note of all of your appliances and verify they’re all in working condition.

An appraiser will consider any upgrades you’ve made, too, whether it’s to something like a built-in appliance or your entire basement.

Your Home Appraisal Checklist

The most important items on any home appraisal checklist are those that require repairs. If at all possible, you will want to make those fixes before you list your house for sale, so you can price it higher.

As Discover points out:

“Appraisers often value houses in $500 increments, so if there’s a repair over $500 that can or should be made, do it. Fix leaky faucets, broken windows and cracked ceilings.”

Renovations that hide your home’s age can be a wise investment, too. Replacing old carpet or outdated amenities might improve your appraiser’s opinion.

Most importantly, make sure your house conforms to this home appraisal checklist:

A lack of plumbing issues (e.g. stains near spouts)

A roof that’s free of any leaks or damage

A working garage door and opener

Foundation free of water intrusion or damage

Functional air conditioning, electricity, and water

Utilities that function appropriately

Secure doors

Secure handrails along any steps

Secure railings along any raised decks

Walls and ceilings free of cracks

Again, what you should actually address depends entirely on your budget, but go through this checklist before a formal appraisal to avoid any surprises.

The FHA Home Appraisal Checklist

If you’re hoping to secure an FHA loan, your checklist will be a little different. That’s because the FHA won’t offer you a loan to close on a house if it requires certain repairs.

So, FHA home appraisals will look for things like:

Any signs of water damage

Damaged driveway and/or sidewalk

Damaged siding

Exposed floorboards

Grounded plugs or GFI outlets for outdoor electrical access

Leaking roofs

Peeling paint

Regular, two-pronged outlets within 10 feet of a water source

Unsecure wall studs

Even as the seller, this is important to keep in mind. FHA loans are popular, which means you could lose a lot of potential buyers if your home suffers from these problems.

The VA Home Inspection Checklist

Similarly, VA loans come with conditions. Although the Veteran’s Association makes every effort to extend these loans to its members, like the FHA, they can’t finance the purchase of a house that may be falling apart.

Therefore, in case a potential buyer may be using a VA loan to purchase your house, your home appraisal checklist should look for the following:

A functioning sewer system

A functioning water heater

Clean drinking water

Secure foundation

Sound roof

Working utilities (including air conditioning)

An appraiser will also want a pest inspection done to ensure the home isn’t secretly housing termites or other uninvited guests.

Get Advice from an Experienced Real Estate Agent

If you’re considering selling your house in the near future, it makes sense that you’d be thinking about hiring an appraiser first.

While the above home appraisal checklist will definitely help you prepare for their visit, it’s a good idea to speak with an experienced real estate agent, too. They’ll be able to give you other pointers based on your unique home.

At SimpleShowing, we’d love to connect you with a real estate agent who can answer any questions you have about your home’s value, an appraisal and so much more. Plus, if you decide to sell with our team, you’ll only pay a 1% listing fee.

Contact us today learn all about how SimpleShowing can help.

11 Things Appraisers Look for During a Home Appraisal

11 Things Appraisers Look for During Home Appraisal

What do appraisers look for when valuing a home? A home appraisal is a critical component in the home buying process, as it determines the value of a property. When making an offer on a Realtors use appraisal addendums to win multiple offer situations, that’s how important the role of an appraisal is to both buyers and sellers. Understanding how the appraisal process works can help both buyers and sellers properly prepare, as there are several key items an appraiser will look for when conducting a home appraisal.

Last week we wrote an article on what do home inspectors look for and this week we are writing about what appraisers look for! Let’s dive into our article that answers the question: What do home appraisers look for?

In this article, we will discuss how the home appraisal process works, what to expect before, during, and after a home appraisal, and how to properly prepare for appraisal day. While the appraisal process may sound daunting to both buyers and sellers, there are several ways to adequately prepare that will help your home appraise.

What is a Home Appraisal?

A home appraisal is an estimate of the home’s value. It is typically determined by having a licensed appraiser inspect the home and researching the price homes have recently sold for in the area. Prior to buying a home, a mortgage lender will require a home appraisal to ensure the home is worth the amount the seller is asking. For example, if a seller lists their home for $450,000 and you offer $435,000, the mortgage lender will want to ensure the home is actually worth $435,000. If, after conducting the home appraisal, they find the home is only worth $415,000, they may only be willing to lend $415,000. This means your real estate agent will either have to assist you in renegotiating with the seller on bringing the purchase price down to $415,000, or you as the buyer will have to come up with the funds to make up the difference between what your mortgage lender is offering and what the seller is asking on the house.

Homeowners may also request an appraisal when refinancing their mortgage. A lender will typically request an appraisal to ensure they aren’t lending more money than the home is really worth. After the appraisal is complete, the mortgage lender will determine how much they will lend for the property. So what do appraisers look for during a home appraisal?

What do Appraisers Look for During a Home Appraisal?

When comparing your home to other homes in the area, they will primarily take the size and overall condition of your home into strong consideration when conducting their analysis. If you own a 3-bedroom home in Raleigh, North Carolina, they will compare the amount of similar 3-bedroom homes have sold in the Raleigh area when determining the value of your home. In addition to conducting an analysis of comparable homes in the neighborhood, they will also review your home’s physical condition and qualities that can’t be changed, such as square footage, zoning, and other factors.

1. The General Condition of the Home

Before getting too granular, the appraiser will note general details in the home, such as the materials used throughout the home, the condition of the property, and any alarming physical aspects of the property that may impact its habitability. This is one of the first things appraisers look for! If anything seems structurally unsound or unsafe to live in, they will take note. They will also scan the home’s overall upkeep, such as missing door handles, leaking faucets, and other maintenance-related issues. While they won’t focus on whether or not the home is clean, they will look for signs of neglect, including broken windows, damaged floors, broken appliances, cracked walls, broken doors, ripped carpeting, etc.

2. The Home’s Location

Appraisers will look at the home’s location. When conducting an appraisal, the appraiser will consider where the home is located. Location plays a critical part in valuing a home. They will assess the home’s proximity to desirable schools, a low crime rate, and the home’s proximity to a hospital, fire station, and police station. They will assess whether or not the home is located on a busy road and if it is in close proximity to owner-occupied homes, renter-occupied homes, or foreclosed properties. They will also note whether it is located in a suburban neighborhood or rural/urban area. In a highly desirable area like Plaza-Midwood or Myers Park which are two of Charlotte’s best neighborhoods, homes will be valued far higher than less desirable areas. Appraisers will also consider the surrounding homes in the neighborhood. Are they primarily single-family homes, apartment buildings, or commercial properties?

3. The Age of the Home

One thing many people don’t account for that appraisers look for is the age of the home. There are advantages and disadvantages to both new and old homes, so a home isn’t necessarily guaranteed to appraise just because it’s new. Older homes are sometimes maintained far more and are located in historic districts whereas newer homes may come with problems. Nonetheless, the age of the home will play a role in the appraisal process. New Construction always is valued higher than homes built a century ago.

4. The Home’s Exterior

A home appraiser will take time reviewing the exterior of the home to ensure it is structurally sound. They will look for any signs of water damage or other problems, such as a chimney that is cracked or leaning away from the home (which could indicate structural damage) along with a lopsided porch or stairs leading up to the home.

The quality of the roof will also play an important role in your home’s sale value. Damaged roofs bring on the infestation, leaking, and other problems, so the appraiser will assess the home’s roofing quality. If you are aware of your home’s roof problems, speak with your real estate agent prior to spending tens of thousands of dollars to repair it. It may be more cost-effective to lower the asking price of your home rather than putting tons of money into installing a brand-new roof. In addition to the roof, the appraiser will also inspect the condition of the siding, garage, porch, deck, and any other exterior elements.

5. Design of the home

If your home is extremely dated and hasn’t been updated in several years – or decades – the appraiser will take that into account. If the home is outdated, it will appeal to a limited number of buyers and may be more challenging to sell.

6. Signs of water damage

Water damage brings a host of issues in a home, including mold, mildew, rotting, and more. The appraiser will look for water in the basement, plumbing problems, roof leaks, and any stains on the ceilings, floors, or walls. If there is minor water damage in your home, you may be able to take care of the problem on your own to keep your buyer from walking away from the deal.

Water damage is an important aspect of the appraisal process because mold can cost thousands of dollars to remove. Not only that, mold is also extremely toxic and dangerous to those who are exposed. Mold poisoning can bring on considerable respiratory issues along with a host of other health complications.

7. Size of the home

When appraisers appraise your home, they consider other homes that are similar in size in your area. They will take your home’s square footage and the number of bedrooms into strong consideration when determining your home’s value. The home appraiser will also assess the size of the lot the home sits on. The garage size will be a contributing factor, as a home with a 3 or 4-car garage will appraise higher than a home with a 1-car garage or no garage at all.

8. Home’s Interior

The appraiser typically spends the most amount of time inspecting the home’s interior. An appraiser will assess the structure and overall condition of a home. When assessing the home’s interior, they will typically start with the number of bedrooms and bathrooms and whether or not there is a basement, attic, or crawl space. They will take note of the home’s foundation type and will assess the materials used on the floors, windows, and walls.

While they will typically not pay as much attention to cosmetic details, they will take note if the home is particularly run down. They will look at the doors, windows, ceilings, walls, and any leaking faucets or visible electrical issues.

9. Home Improvements

If any rooms in the house – especially the kitchen and bathrooms – have been renovated, the appraiser will take note. Energy-efficient appliances or other eco-friendly aspects of the home are also a plus. They will also note a fireplace or a porch, patio, or fence around the house.

Certain home improvements add value to a home, while others don’t.

If your home has central air conditioning instead of individual air conditioners in every room, it may appraise higher. The appraiser will also assess whether your heat is fueled by oil, gas, or electricity and will note any outdated heating and cooling systems.

Any additional upgrades that have been made to the home, such as new hardwood flooring, a new garage or front door, a new roof, new siding, etc. will also impact your home’s appraisal.

10. Signs of Infestation

While the appraiser won’t do a full pest inspection, they will look for signs of termites or other pests on the floors and windowsills. Termites, rodents, and other pests can cause irreparable damage to the home’s structure, so this will play a role in the appraisal process.

11. Safety features

If you are obtaining a government-backed loan – such as a VA or FHA loan – certain safety features will need to be in place. The appraiser will look for smoke detectors on every level of the home, handrails on all staircases, and other safety details.

Common Questions on What Home Appraisers Look For:

Is a home appraisal the same as a home inspection?

While the process behind a home appraisal and home inspection may seem similar in that they both involve analyzing the home’s condition, they are two very separate processes. A home appraisal is used to determine the value of a home, whereas a home inspection considers a home’s condition to ensure it is habitable. An appraisal is typically much shorter than a home inspection, as a home inspection usually lasts several hours and involves a thorough analysis of the property’s condition. The appraiser communicates with the mortgage lender on the amount the property is worth, whereas the home inspector communicates with the buyer or seller of the home on structural problems or repairs that are needed on the property. A home inspector will provide information on how to fix any problems encountered during the inspection process, whereas a home appraiser will not provide details on how to repair the issues they find.

Who conducts the home appraisal?

Appraisers are licensed professionals who do not have any ties to the mortgage lender, buyer, or seller. They must be a neutral third-party who can provide a fair, unbiased appraisal of the home. Appraisers must typically go through several hours of training, depending on the state where they are becoming appraisers. They also typically need an associate’s degree, while advanced appraisal positions will require a bachelor’s degree.

How much is an appraisal?

The home appraisal cost depends on the size of the home and level of detail involved in the appraisal process, but will typically range between $300 and $450. The buyer typically pays for the appraisal, but the mortgage lender is usually the one who will order it. If the sale doesn’t end up going through for whatever reason, the appraisal fee is typically non-refundable.

How long does a home appraisal take?

A home appraisal is much shorter than a home inspection. The home appraisal typically only lasts about 30 to 45 minutes in total. While conducting the appraisal, the appraiser will take pictures of all rooms in the home, the garage, and the outside of the home. They will also measure the home and examine its overall condition, upgrades, amenities, and any other aspects of the home of note.

How does an appraiser determine a home’s value?

After conducting the property’s physical appraisal, they will then analyze comparable homes in your neighborhood and assess the size and sale price of homes nearby. If you are applying for a mortgage, they will then factor in your credit history, income, assets, and other financial details to determine a loan amount.

What happens if the home appraisal comes in low?

If the home’s appraisal value comes back lower than the asking price, two things typically happen: the seller may agree to lower the price to move forward with the transaction, or the buyer may decide to increase their down payment. If there is a strong seller’s market and the seller isn’t afraid of losing you as a buyer, they might not agree to bring down the price of the home. If that happens and you still want the home, you will, unfortunately, have to increase your down payment to get the same interest rate. If both the buyer and seller can’t come to an agreement, they may decide to walk away from the deal altogether.

How can I prepare for an appraisal?

While it is very hard to change the outcome of an appraisal, there are ways to help the process go smoothly and increase your chances of getting a better appraisal report. The appraiser will consider the property’s curb appeal, so spend time on the landscaping and overall exterior of the home. If repairs are needed on the house, such as fixing a faulty door or ripped up carpeting, it is best to make these repairs in preparation for the appraisal. If you have made considerable upgrades and improvements to the home, provide a list of all upgrades for the appraiser’s review.

How can I challenge a low home appraisal?

In some situations, buyers can request a rebuttal on the appraisal, which involves submitting a request for the appraiser to reexamine the home’s value. This might happen if you feel that the appraiser missed significant or unique characteristics in the home or excluded certain comparable homes in their analysis. Unfortunately, rebuttals are not always effective, as appraisers usually will not change a home’s valuation. However, depending on the circumstances, it may be worth it to try.

Key takeaways on What Appraisers Look For

What do home appraisers look for is the question everyone wants to know since it is such an important part of the home buying process. While the home appraisal can be a stressful time for both buyers and sellers, it is rare that a home doesn’t appraise at all. A trusted real estate agent will help guide you through the process and will be available to answer your questions when the appraisal report is sent.

If you are thinking of purchasing a home in Charlotte, please with us today so one of our local Realtors can assist you!

8 Interesting Things Appraisers Notice About Your Home • Birmingham Appraisal Blog


Some Things Appraisers Notice May Surprise You

The appraiser arrives at your house and introduces themselves. He or she tells you they will start on the outside of your home by taking some measurements and then look at the inside.

During this process, which can take anywhere from 30 minutes to several hours depending on the size of the home, you will see them moving from one room to another. They will be taking notes either with a clipboard or tablet all the while observing your home.

In addition, they will be taking photos of each room in the home along with items they believe to be critical to determining the value of your home. So what exactly does the appraiser consider when they are wandering through your house?

In this post, I am going to share with you 8 interesting things appraisers notice during their observation of your home. I hope this will help you understand what factors are considered in an appraisal and in turn help you to prepare for the appraisal inspection.

1) Quality of construction – During the property observation, the appraiser will notice different quality factors about your home. Some of these include the materials that are used such as hardwood floors, quartz counters, crown molding, or the number of plumbing fixtures in the bathrooms.

These items vary in homes depending on the quality of construction. Lower quality homes may only have painted walls, laminate counters, vinyl flooring, and minimal plumbing fixtures whereas those of higher quality will have the aforementioned finishes and features.

Observing these features of a home helps the appraiser to rate the quality in order to accurately develop a replacement cost for the home and for comparison to the sales used in the report. It is always better to use sales of similar quality rather than ones that are either superior or inferior and then make adjustments since this type of adjustment can be somewhat subjective.

2) Floor plan layout – In addition to sketching and measuring your house to calculate the square footage, the appraiser uses the drawing to show the location of every room in the house. This helps readers of the report visualize the layout of the home.

The appraiser can also illustrate any functional obsolescence the house may have. I wrote an entire blog post about this so I won’t go into super detail here but will instead let you read that article to find out more about how it can affect value.

While we are walking through your home we are looking at it through the eyes of a typical homebuyer. This can help us to identify possible floor plan flaws that may have a negative impact on value.

3) Needed repairs – Appraisers are trained to observe every little thing about your house. This includes what appraisers call deferred maintenance.

This is a fancy phrase for items that need repair. These can include cosmetic repairs as well as others that may affect more long-lived items of construction like the roof, electrical, or plumbing system to name a few.

While these things are important in all appraisals much more emphasis is placed on them being repaired prior to the loan closing for an FHA appraisal. To prevent delays in the loan process sellers should identify these repairs and complete them prior to the appraisal so that they do not hold up the process.

4) How it fits into the neighborhood – This is commonly referred to as the principle of conformity which states that value is created and maximized when a property conforms to its nearby surroundings.

One of the main reasons a bank wants an appraisal on a home they are using for collateral is that they want to know if it will be easy to sell should they need to foreclose on it. If they find out the home is oddly unique this may make it more difficult to sell which could result in them having it on their books longer and possibly losing money.

Haven’t we all seen the house that looks like a flying saucer? Can you imagine trying to sell something so unique? While there may be some buyers that want this type of home they may be far and few in between which can result in the sale taking longer and possibly not covering the mortgage balance.

5) Water pressure (for FHA appraisals) – One of the many things that an appraiser looks at during an FHA appraisal inspection is the water pressure. This may not be an issue for newer homes but it could be for older ones.

According to the HUD Handbook which includes appraisal rules:

“The Appraiser must flush the toilets and operate a sample of faucets to check the water pressure and flow, to determine that the plumbing system is intact, that it does not emit foul odors, that faucets function appropriately, that both cold and hot water run, and that there is no readily observable evidence of leaks or structural damage under fixtures.”

Real estate agents should be familiar with these guidelines so that they can help their clients address these issues before the appraisal is done because if they are not taken care of there could be a delay in the loan closing process.

6) Water damage – Something that the appraiser is trained to notice is signs of water damage. A couple of places that we look at are ceilings and under sinks.

A water stain on the ceiling can be a sign of a faulty roof or if it is on the basement ceiling it could be a leaking plumbing fixture from the floor above.

I have been in some homes where a roof was replaced but the stain from a previous leak has not been fixed. Sometimes a loan can be held up because the seller did not remove the stain by something as simple as repainting over the area.

Again, I stress the importance of handling these minor issues beforehand to avoid potential issues that can hold up a loan.

A similar scenario can occur with water leaks underneath a sink. The leak should be fixed before the appraiser’s visit because the appraiser will check for this.

If a leak was repaired but the floor of the cabinet still shows signs of water damage it will be a repair requirement which, again, will unnecessarily delay a loan closing until the issue is resolved. These types of delays are not the appraiser’s fault because they are things that are easily taken care of before the appraisal is done.

7) Weird noises – Does your heating and cooling system make odd noises when it’s turned on? Does the bathroom exhaust fan sound like it’s on its last leg?

If so you can bet the appraiser will notice it and write it up in the appraisal, especially if it is for an FHA loan. If you are getting an FHA loan through HUD they want to make sure that everything is working properly and that the homeowner will not have any extra expenses in fixing things that need repair.

This helps ensure that their collateral is in goods shape and the buyer can make the payments because they do not have any unexpected expenses.

8) Peeling paint (for FHA appraisals) – Lastly, I want to discuss peeling paint because it has recently become an issue for conventional appraisals as well as those done for FHA/HUD. Prior to 1978 paint used in houses contained lead, which is poisonous if ingested.

Because of the toxic nature of lead-based paint, FHA/HUD requires that any homes built prior to 1978 and that have peeling, chipping, or flaking paint have the paint removed and repainted. There are specific guidelines that should be followed regarding the removal of the paint from the property.

Recently I have seen lenders require peeling paint to be corrected for not only home built prior to 1978 but also for homes built since 1978. In addition, some banks are also requiring paint to be removed from homes that are being purchased with a conventional loan.

This appears to be a bank-mandated requirement so some may or may not require it. Just to be safe I would suggest that all peeling, chipping, or flaking paint is removed from the home before it is listed and before the appraiser visits the property.


Do you have any questions regarding what appraisers are looking for in your home during their visit? Leave a comment below if you do or if you have any other questions. As always, thanks for reading.

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Exactly, What Do Appraisers Look For In a Refinance?

Did you know that, according to the U.S. Department of Housing Development and the U.S. Census Bureau, there were over 800,000 new houses sold in April 2021? In April 2020, this number was only over 500,000.

This goes to show that many people are buying homes now. In addition to selling your home during this time, you also have the option to refinance your home so that you can get money for a loan.

If this is the case for you, you might be wondering, “What do appraisers look for in a refinance?”

When refinancing your home, it’s stressful if you don’t know the answer to this question.

After all, how can you prepare for the appraisal so that your loan will actually go through? It’s a lot to juggle and overwhelming to know how to get started.

That’s why we’ve put together this article. In it, we’ll review everything appraisers look for when doing a refinancing appraisal. Finally, you can get that loan you need. Read on to learn more.

What Do Appraisers Look for in a Refinance?

There are several things an appraiser looks for in a refinance. These include your home’s condition and size, comparable properties, home system conditions, amenities, improvements and remodels, negative features, and location.

Your Home’s Condition and Size

One of the first things an appraiser will look at when doing a home appraisal is the general condition of your home. When doing this, they’ll also consider the layout and size of your home. Note that they’ll look at both the outside and inside of your home.

In terms of size, they’ll consider your home’s square footage and the number of bedrooms, bathrooms, and total rooms in the home. They might even ask to look at some floor plans so they can get an exact number for each space in your home.

Obviously, there isn’t much you can do about changing the number of rooms in your home before refinancing your property if you aren’t ready to splash out a ton of cash.

However, if there are any serious issues—for example, not enough bathrooms for the size of the home, it might be worth doing a renovation. Otherwise, the value of your home will be much lower.

As for condition, you want to make sure that the rooms don’t have any issues an appraiser could see at first glance when checking out the interior and exterior of your home.

There are additional things to watch out for, which we’ll go into later on.

Comparable Properties

Even though it isn’t technically part of an appraisal on a property, appraisers will look at comparable properties to help determine how much they think your home is worth. If you’re curious now to get an idea of how much your house is worth, you can do this too.

Of course, there will be other specific features your appraiser looks at, so when you average how much homes in your area are selling for, you won’t have the exact number.

However, you’ll have a pretty good idea. This can help you decide whether you want to invest in the appraisal in the first place.

To get started, go to a realtor website that provides information about the homes near you. Make sure the site you join is one that provides not only information about price, but also about the features and images of the home.

This way, you can get a better idea of how your home might measure up when the appraiser comes.

Home System Conditions

An appraiser will also look at your home system conditions. These include your electrical system, plumbing system, and HVAC setup. When it comes to your electrical system, the appraiser will check to see whether:

All lights are working

There aren’t any stray wires or loose connections

Your fuses don’t get overblown often

The amount of plugs makes sense for your home

The plugs are safe to use

If you have any issues that might raise a red flag to an appraiser when they analyze your electrical system, you should have an electrician come in to fix them. An easy fix, if you don’t have too many problems, is to change all your bulbs so they all turn on.

As for the plumbing system, you should make sure that all faucets work properly and that you have hot water in all of them.

You’ll also want to make sure all your pipes are connected properly to appliances such as your laundry machine.

An easy fix is to improve the water pressure. While this might not be a serious issue for you, it doesn’t look great to the appraiser. Finally, make sure all your toilets flush efficiently and quickly and that you don’t have any leaking pipes.

As for your HVAC setup, the appraiser might ask you these questions:

“Is there any corrosion?”

“Are there any strange smells coming out?”

“Does it properly work?”

“How old is the system?”

If you think any of these questions might have a negative answer, you should call in a professional and have this issue fixed immediately. A fully functioning HVAC system is an important piece of what the appraiser will be looking at.


In addition to making sure that your home is in good condition and all its systems are working properly, the appraiser will take the amenities into consideration too. If you have any additions to your home that make it more valuable, remember to point these out to the appraiser.

A Deck or Patio

If you have a deck or patio out back, this will drive up the value of your home. To add as much value as possible, clean the area of any leaves or residue before the appraiser comes. It will also help to add a touch of decoration, such as furniture or flowers.

You want the deck or patio to look like it might in a magazine. This way, the appraiser will be able to envision just how much value there is in having it be part of your home.

Outdoor Living Area or Kitchen

In the past year or so, many people have been adding outdoor living areas or kitchens to the exterior of their homes. Of course, this is a big renovation, so if you don’t have this setup, there’s no need to add it to your home now.

However, you can still make a few outdoor changes that you can enjoy yourself. This could include getting outdoor lawn furniture, buying a barbecue, or installing a music system.

If you do have an outdoor living area or kitchen, clean it thoroughly beforehand so that there aren’t any tree branches or leaves on it. If it looks like it hasn’t been used in a while, it won’t add as much value during the appraisal.

Sunroom or Special Indoor Space

Finally, if you have a sunroom or special indoor space, you want to show this off too. Clean it thoroughly, place furniture around in an aesthetically pleasing way, and bring a little life in by adding some plants or paintings.

Improvements and Remodels

Something else to show off is improvements and remodels. These include replacement roof repair, plumbing upgrades, durable fixtures, an added bathroom, an energy-reducing remodel, and an expansion or remodeling of your kitchen.

Replacement Roof Repair

If you had your roof replaced or repaired while living in your home, let your realtor know. Give them the paperwork as well about how extensive the repair was. Because this type of repair isn’t always visible, you’ll get more value in your appraisal if you provide this information.

Plumbing Upgrades

Another home improvement that an appraiser might not immediately spot is a plumbing upgrade. However, if you’ve recently had many of your pipes upgraded, you should let the appraiser know. Inform them about the material and areas changed.

Durable Fixtures

Another impressive change to your home is changing your old fixtures for durable ones. Especially if you bought a pre-owned home, replacing fixtures with ones that last longer will provide your home with value for a long period of time.

While your appraiser will notice that the fixtures are working, they might not know that they’re new and built to last.

For this reason, you should provide them with the information about the new fixtures you received when you bought and installed them.

Added Bathroom

When the appraiser goes into your added bathroom, point out any modern features you included when having it added to your home. This might include high water pressure, dimming or heat lights, and any jets in the bathtub.

Energy-Reducing Remodel

If you’ve made any changes to your home that have driven down your energy bills, let your realtor know. This might include replacing your furnace, installing an eco-friendly HVAC system, or putting solar panels up on your roof.

Because this makes your house more modern, greener, and makes energy bills less expensive, it’s a remodel that will drive up your home’s value significantly.

Expansion or Remodeling of Your Kitchen

If you’ve expanded your kitchen, the appraiser will be able to tell by looking at the square footage of the space. However, your entire remodel might not be visible. Point out any features, such as a modern fridge or a fancy sink fixture.

Negative Features

The appraiser will also be on the lookout for negative features when appraising your home. These can include an outdated kitchen, peeling paint, leaking pipes, or an exterior that’s weathered and has become ugly over time.

Before the appraiser comes, fix as many of these issues as you can. Otherwise, you might end up with a negative appraisal that makes it impossible for you to get the refinancing you need.

Note that repainting is one of the easiest, cheapest fixes and can completely transform your home. Whether you’re repainting the exterior or interior, this will keep your home looking fresh and beautiful.

If you can’t repair everything—for example, update your whole kitchen and all the appliances in it, which can be pricey, then the next best thing is to clean these areas as best as you can.

Adding a few touches, like a potted plant, can also make the area look much more modern.


Finally, an appraiser will think about your home’s location when deciding how much it’s worth. If you live near a loud highway, for example, this might bring down the value of your home. The same goes if it’s a highly-trafficked area or there’s a school nearby.

To prepare for your appraiser’s visit when it comes to location, you should put together a list of all the nearby places that would look good.

This might include a nearby shopping area, being close to a city where many jobs are, or having a neighborhood pool nearby.

Need More Information?

Now that we’ve answered the question, “What do appraisers look for in a refinance?” you might need additional information. Maybe you want help budgeting for changes you can make to your home before your appraiser comes.

Or maybe you’re considering selling your home too and what to know what your options are.

Whatever information you need, we can help. At iBuyer, we’re experts when it comes to home selling. We’ll also buy your home with cash. To get a cash offer on your home, submit your address here!

What To Expect From A Home Appraisal?

What hurts a home appraisal?

Any unrepaired or ongoing structural damage can hurt your appraisal. Home appraisers are training to look for telltale signs of structural damage, such as cracks in the walls or flooring.

What do they look for in a home appraisal?

What home appraisers look for: What’s the general condition of the house? An appraiser will evaluate and comment on: The materials and conditions of the foundation and exterior walls, the roof surface, screens, gutters and downspouts. The materials and conditions of the floors, walls, and trim.

Does a messy house affect an appraisal?

“Generally speaking, a messy house with scattered clothes, toys or belongings does not affect an appraisal. Appraisers are professionals that have been trained to look past the clutter and assess the true value of the property,” explains Albert Lee, Founder of Home Living Lab.

Do appraisers look in showers?

After all, it’s telling what you can find sometimes when looking in a shower (or under the kitchen or bathroom sinks). Ultimately, it’s still possible the appraiser caught mostly everything, so there may be nothing to worry about, though it sounds like the appraiser went a bit too fast and missed some things.

Do home appraisers look in closets?

Appraisers are looking in your closets not to evaluate storage space but because they can sometimes count the closet towards square footage. … Depending on how much notice you have of the appraiser’s visit, you might have time to complete some unfinished projects.

Should I clean my house before an appraisal?

The cleanliness of a home also has no impact on the value. It is not uncommon for an appraiser to walk into a cluttered, messy home. … Although your home is not valued based on your organization or cleaning skills, it is always a good idea to straighten up before an appraisal so the appraiser can get an accurate look.

Do appraisers take pictures inside?

Appraisers are required to take pictures of the exterior of your house. In the interior, they are required to take enough pictures to support the condition rating, with a special focus on bathrooms, kitchen, and other improvements.

How long does home appraisal take?

In real estate, a home appraisal typically takes two days to a week to fully complete. To complete the appraisal process, the mortgage lender must first order and schedule the appraisal, then gather data about the home.

Does an appraiser go inside the house?

Since the appraiser doesn’t go inside the home, I would argue that the value opinion they develop may not be as accurate as possible. If I were listing my home for sale and had just had a drive-by appraisal done on my home, there’s no way I would base my list price on that appraisal.

What negatively affects home appraisal?

The age and condition of the home’s HVAC units, appliances, and electrical and plumbing systems will be considered in the home’s overall appraised value. Obviously, if these components are in bad shape, this will negatively affect the appraisal.

What brings down property value?

Having short sales and especially foreclosures on your street decreases the value of your home. Even if they are not direct comparables, as in same square footage and the number of bedrooms and baths, they are in your immediate neighborhood, so can make the entire area depreciate in value.

What do appraisers look for?

In practical terms, appraisers are looking for any items that adversely affect the home’s value, such as needed repairs, soiled carpets and plaster cracks. They also itemize the extra things that make the home desirable such as added insulation, air conditioning or a new roof.

Do appraisers look under sinks?

If you are an appraiser, look under the sink to know what is there. If you are a seller, be aware the appraiser might call for repairs if seeing something like the photo above. It might be worth curing the problem before the appraiser comes (I’m not saying you should hide the issue if you know you have a mold problem).

Do home appraisers look in attic?

Appraisers who perform FHA appraisals are required to perform at a minimum a head and shoulders inspection of both the attic and crawlspace. To prove this was done the appraisal must contain pictures of the attic and crawlspace.

Do appraisers check appliances?

Appraisers will check the materials and condition of the windows and doors, flooring, plumbing and electrical systems, the number and quality of appliances, the kitchen, bathroom, and all other important parts of the home. He or she will also check for health and safety issues, such as fire escapes and handrails.

Do appraisers look in every room?

Determining Value

Appraisers will spend about 30 minutes touring your home — both outside and inside — while determining your property’s value. … That’s why appraisers look at each bedroom in a home. They need to confirm that these rooms meet the legal definition.

Do appraisers look at?

The house appraiser will be very interested in any improvements you have made and the quality of those improvements. The appraiser considers a new floor, a renovated bathroom or kitchen, new appliances, or an HVAC system – all of these to determine overall value.

Does a home appraiser know purchase price?

The appraiser will most likely know the selling price of a home. … Therefore, the appraiser will most likely know the selling price of a home but this is not always the case. There are times that we have appraised properties for private sales where both the buyer and seller have declined to provide this information.

Do appraisers look in crawl space?

“In any event, the crawl space size and accessibility dictates the level of entry. However, the appraiser will visually examine the crawl space for inadequacies.” That would seem to indicate some discretion is possible during the appraisal process.

What do refinance appraisers look for?

Based on the home visit and these records, the appraiser arrives at a professional opinion of how much your property would sell for if you put it on the market. The bank uses this value—along with your income, assets, and credit history—to determine how much it will lend you and at what terms.

Home Appraiser: What Do Appraisers Look At During An Appraisal

What Is The Home Appraiser Appraising?

What do appraisers look for? This is a question I have been asked by many clients over the years. A visit from a home appraiser is an inevitable part of selling your home.

Even if your buyer is happy to pay what you ask and loves the place, the lender will still require that an objective third party – in the form of a professional appraiser – come through the home to determine its value.

Their opinion of value is what’s known as an appraisal.

Because the appraiser operates independently, their opinion will be based purely on the market and the state of your property. But, while you may not be able to sway the final verdict, it is certainly worthwhile to know what an appraiser will look for.

Many homeowners ask me, “how does the house appraiser determine the value of my home”?

The fear, of course, on the seller’s part, is that their home is, for some reason, not going to appraise. Keep in mind, folks, that a house not appraising is a rarity!

For the appraiser to do his or her job is figuring out the value of a property, they must understand quite a bit about the construction and maintenance of a home to do a good job. This is part of what an appraiser looks for.

What is a Home Appraiser?

In order to accurately provide a value to the lender, an independent home appraiser is hired to evaluate the fair market value. A home appraiser uses data to estimate this value based on the property’s many characteristics, including the size, location, amenities, and condition.

They will compare your home to others that have recently sold in the area to arrive at their estimation of value. In order to do an appraisal, an appraiser needs to be licensed.

The majority of all real estate appraisers will use what is known as the Uniform Residential Appraisal Report. This is a standardized appraisal document that will be filled out and sent back to the lender that ordered the appraisal.

The lender that is granting the mortgage to a buyer will use it to determine whether they want to lend on a particular property.

The information that is found in the report is what’s known as “comparable sales”. Home appraisers will make adjustments in their appraisal report based on numerous factors compared to the subject property.

A home appraiser plays a significant role in many real estate transactions because it is their opinion of value in which the lender makes a lending judgment.

Home appraisers will look for several different things to get an accurate real estate appraisal, including:

Your Home’s Exterior Affects The House Appraisal

At its most basic, a home comprises a foundation, walls, and a roof. All three of these play significant roles in the functionality and the reliability of a dwelling, and the appraiser for the house will pay serious attention to all of them.

He or she will be looking for defects in the home’s general construction and any damage to these components.

A problem with a roof or a foundation can quickly make a home inhabitable, so be aware that the home appraiser will focus intensely on these. Remember, the home appraiser is there to report back to the lender who will be providing the buyer with a mortgage.

The home appraisal’s primary purpose is to make sure the mortgage holder is not lending money on a property that does not have the necessary equity.

The Size of the Property Plays a Key Role in House Appraisals

The size of your lot and the size of your home are both important considerations for the appraiser. They are significant factors that determine an appraised value. People tend to prefer larger homes and larger lots, so you can expect these to come into play when your house is evaluated.

For example, a level one-acre lot with great landscaping might be worth a lot more than a 2-acre lot where wetlands occupy ninety percent of it. This is the kind of judgment a home appraiser needs to make when evaluating one property to the next.

Typically, the more bedrooms and bathrooms you have, the more you can expect the house to be worth – especially if they are large and accommodating.

Homebuyers like the opportunity to expand and are more likely to desire a property that will allow this. The home’s square footage will make up a large portion of what goes into figuring out the home’s appraised value.

The house appraiser will pay special attention to these factors.

Condition Of The Interior Also Factors Into The Appraisal

A significant part of what an appraiser looks for in a home is the interior condition and the offered amenities. Even if the roof, siding, and foundation are all in excellent shape, the interior of your home is just as crucial to the home appraiser when assessing value. Things like windows and doors, flooring, walls, plumbing, electrical, kitchen, and bathroom are essential parts of a home.

The appraiser must know about all of these and be able to tell good from bad, and you can rest assured that he or she will look closely at yours. This is true even down to the appliances your home includes and the light fixtures you have installed.

Home Improvements Are Key Elements in Appraisals

The value of a home does not stop at its original construction. The house appraiser will be very interested in any improvements you have made and the quality of those improvements.

The appraiser considers a new floor, a renovated bathroom or kitchen, new appliances, or an HVAC system – all of these to determine overall value.

Buyers and lenders love newer appliances and quality renovations because they contribute to the property’s lasting value. A new dishwasher and kitchen renovation may add another 20 years to a kitchen’s life, which is good for everyone involved.

Home improvements will undoubtedly be a factor in how an appraiser determines the value of a home!

Extras and Additions Factor Into House Appraisals

The extra things that make your home special will also be appraised. A home may be very basic, or it may have some additions that make it more appealing.

Air conditioning in a colder climate, for instance, might be unusual for the area but fantastic for the homeowner during the few hot months of summer. A swimming pool is another example.

If the pool is in good shape and in an area where people are willing to pay for them, it could add to the value of your home.

Even things you might consider basic like insulated windows, fireplaces, a garage, or a security system can all add value to your home during the appraisal process.

These are all critical elements for what appraisers look for during the home appraisal process.

How Do Appraisers Calculate My Homes Value

How do real estate appraisers determine market value? Now that you understand what house appraisers look at during a real estate appraisal, you probably want to know how they calculate the actual market value from this information.

Most residential property is evaluated by following what is known as the comparable sales price approach.

An appraiser will essentially use market data of most similar homes that have sold within a certain distance of your home over the last six months. Appraisers generally will not use any data that goes back longer than six months. The older the data, the less accurate it is in determining current real estate values. Ideally, the data should be three months or less, if possible.

These homes that they are using will be what is considered most similar to your home. For example, if you are selling a ranch home, the comparable sales should be other like ranches, not colonials.

Appraisers will then make adjustments based on the features and characteristics of the other homes. For example, let’s say your home has three bedrooms and one bath. One of the neighborhood’s comparable homes is very similar in size to your home but has four bedrooms and two full baths. The appraiser could use this property as a “comp” but would need to adjust for the fact there was one more bedroom and bath.

As previously mentioned above, there are all sorts of adjustments that appraisers can use to determine a home’s value. Location, age, condition, and amenities are all part of deciding residential real estate value.

How to Challenge a Low Real Estate Appraisal

Sometimes homeowners are faced with the proposition of a home not appraising for what the buyer is willing to pay for it. If this happens to you, you will need to take steps for your sale to proceed to closing.

If you get stuck with a low home appraisal, the first thing you will want to do is get a copy of the appraisal report and go over it with a fine-tooth comb. The above reference will give you a complete blueprint on how to go about disputing a low house appraisal.

There are cases where a home comes in at a value lower than it should because the appraiser has made a clerical error in their report causing the value to follow suit.

It could be something as simple as the square footage of your home being off or the appraiser not giving an appropriate value to a superior location that your home resides in.

If there are no errors in the report, you should also look at the comparable properties that the appraiser used. Are they truly equal?

Did The Home Appraiser Make Adjustment Errors?

Sometimes they are not because the appraiser does not know the area as well as they should. A few years ago, this scenario popped up while selling a home in Milford, MA. It became necessary to challenge an appraisal that came in low. I knew there was a pretty good chance the appraisal would get adjusted because there was a factual error in the report and a judgment error when placing a value on the home’s location.

However, if both of these things check out, the last resort would be to ask the buyer to get another home appraisal done. There will be a cost associated with getting a second appraisal, so be prepared to put the money up for it.

Keep in mind the buyer may not be cooperative in a situation where the appraisal comes in low. After all, many buyers are going to be looking at the appraiser as a professional.

Buyers certainly do not want to overpay for a property. It would be best if you kept this in mind as you are going through challenging the value. As with any other profession, however, there are good and bad appraisers.

When a buyer does not cooperate after receiving a low real estate appraisal, your last resort to keep the sale together will reduce your home sale price to match the appraisal value.

How to Avoid a Low House Appraisal

Nobody wants to be faced with going through a low appraisal when selling a home. The appraiser may be immune to your opinions on your home and unconcerned with your need to sell for a higher price. However, you can still do a few things to improve your odds of a favorable appraisal.

Are there things you can do to avoid getting stuck with a low appraisal of value on your home? Of course, and it starts with paying attention to the condition and presentation of your home!

List Improvements and Extras For The Home Appraiser

The appraiser may be highly trained and have a sharp eye yet fail to see certain things. One of the things real estate agents should be doing is making the house appraiser job easier. As you have learned, home appraisers look for certain things. If you can make their job easier, that is great.

Make a list of all the home improvements you have done to the house and any extras you think he or she might want to know about. This will make the appraiser’s work more manageable and ensure that nothing is missed in the appraisal.

Some of the things that will be important to an appraiser are significant structural or mechanical additions like a new kitchen or bath. If you have upgraded the heating system, replaced the roof, or installed new siding, these things are worth noting as they will impact the home value.

Clean The Home Up Before The House Appraisal

Make sure your home is uncluttered and clean before the appraiser visits. The appraiser is going off a lot of information, but he or she also makes judgment calls about what is good or bad about your home.

Help those judgments along by presenting a sparkling appearance that is free of junk and anything unsightly. While some appraisers are strictly bean counters, don’t think that a home in excellent showing shape does not make a difference.

Years ago, when I got into the real estate business, I neglected to tell a seller the importance of having a clean and tidy home. When the appraiser and I arrived at the house, there were dishes in the sink, food on the counter, clothes on the floor, and beds unmade.

The home looked like a disaster area. From that day forward, I always remember to make sure I let my seller client know how important appearances can be.

Let’s face it; there is a psychological aspect when we visit homes. You either feel good, or you don’t when you enter a property. You want the real estate appraiser to have a great feeling when they leave your home.

When they are back at their office creating the appraisal, the last thing you want them thinking about is your mess.

Landscaping Can Influence Home Appraisals

You do not have to be a gardener or landscape professional to clean up the yard, cut the grass, trim the hedges, and throw down a layer of mulch in the flowerbeds.

You may be thinking to yourself, why does this matter? Isn’t the home appraiser only concerned with square footage and other more tangible things like bedroom and bath counts? Sure those are really important but don’t think for a minute that an appraiser is not human!

The appraiser is going to be taking mental notes of everything. You don’t want your yard to look like Sanford and Son! Making an effort for your yard to look great will pay dividends.

Repair What You Can to Help The Appraisal

The appraiser may notice any small issue, so do what you can to fix them. Replace the toilet flap so it does not leak, and replace the missing board in the fence. Thirty minutes of repair work here or there could make a difference in the ultimate value the appraiser comes up with for your home.

Be Helpful to The Home Appraiser

Answer questions honestly and make sure the appraiser has easy access to all areas of your home.

The real estate appraisal is something that you want your Realtor to attend. The appraiser, more often than not, is going to have questions about the property.

A good real estate agent should be there to represent your best interests in the sale! One of the things a Realtor can do that helps a real estate appraiser is to have comparable properties on hand.

Your real estate agent can bring the listing sheets to the appraisal and hand them to the appraiser.

Most home appraisers will love the fact you are making their job more comfortable for them! A Realtor should never assume the appraiser knows the comparable properties better than they do.

Often the appraiser has not seen the comparable properties, but the real estate agent has! This can be a big advantage in helping the appraiser do their job correctly.

A house appraisal is a big hurdle you need to clear, so it only makes sense you will give this step in the home selling process the needed attention it deserves.

Knowing how the home appraiser determines your property’s value goes a long way in ensuring there will be no issues with the house appraising properly.

Real Estate Appraisal Myths to Know

Sometimes in real estate, there are certain things that people say and do that somehow become facts in the minds of consumers and real estate agents. A couple of these are that real estate appraisers consider a home assessed value when figuring out appraised value. Wrong they do not!

Assessed value has nothing to do with market value and is just a measuring stick for how much a municipality needs to collect for its tax roles. Realtors, unfortunately, often perpetuate this myth in their marketing. “Come take a look at this incredible value, under-priced a hundred thousand below assessed value.” The assumption the agent would have you believe is that the assessed value is the market value. Sorry, guys, it isn’t!

House appraisers also do not look at the Zillow value of your home either! This is another home appraisal myth that seems to be making the rounds. Do you seriously believe a competent appraiser would ever look at what a computer thinks your home is worth? Believe it, or not some folks do.

Appraisers understand that Zillow’s home values are not accurate. In fact, in many markets, they are so far off you wonder why on earth Zillow would want to have such inaccurate information on an otherwise excellent site for providing real estate data.

As a homeowner, these are all the things you should be concerned about trying to navigate your way through the real estate appraisal process. Hopefully, this information has been useful whether you will be selling your home now or in the near future!

Understanding what house appraisers look for is key information for buyers and sellers to know. Hopefully, you now have a better understanding of the appraisal process and what to expect.

Other Helpful Real Estate Appraisal Resources

What appraisers and assessors do to determine value – learn more about what an appraiser will look for in a home. The more you understand appraisals, the better off you’ll be.

Facts about real estate appraisals – get more outstanding guidance on the home appraisal process. Learn what a home appraiser looks for.

How a real estate agent determines market value – discover what an agent does to determine a property’s fair market value accurately.

Use these additional helpful resources to understand better how a home appraisal works.

About the author: The above Real Estate information on what home appraisers look for during a real estate appraisal was provided by Bill Gassett, a Nationally recognized leader in his field. Bill can be reached via email at [email protected] or by phone at 508-625-0191. Bill has helped people move in and out of many Metrowest towns for the last 34+ Years.

Are you thinking of selling your home? I have a passion for Real Estate and love to share my marketing expertise!

I service Real Estate Sales in the following Metrowest MA towns: Ashland, Bellingham, Douglas, Framingham, Franklin, Grafton, Holliston, Hopkinton, Hopedale, Medway, Mendon, Milford, Millbury, Millville, Natick, Northborough, Northbridge, Shrewsbury, Southborough, Sutton, Wayland, Westborough, Whitinsville, Worcester, Upton, and Uxbridge MA.

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