Does a Messy House Affect an Appraisal ?

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Appraisers often get asked by homeowners, “Does a messy house affect an appraisal?”  Of much more concern to an appraiser then a messy home would be any physical, functional or external obsolescence.


A messy home should not affect value. Appraiser’s focus on the quality of construction, functionality, condition, amenities, external factors and more.


The reality is that the appraisers are trained to see beyond an unmade bed, dishes in the sink, unfolded laundry, or the kid’s toys on the floor. Here are some scenarios that are often cause for homeowners concern before the appraiser arrives.



Do Hoarders’ Homes Appraise Lower? 


In the case of hoarders, it might be a different story. When an appraiser visits the home of a hoarder, it is often impossible to get an accurate look at the floors and walls. Or in some cases, even to enter a room.   It is possible that piles of accumulated items have been obstructing the floor and walls for many years. This may have caused mold to grow under the items and the wooden floors or lower walls may have begun to rot.  If there are animal urine and feces on the floor those could destroy carpets and wooden floors. Perhaps there could be termites, mice, or other rodents in the home, obstructed by the items.  The appraiser will do their best due diligence to assess the condition of the home in areas that are inaccessible or obstructed by items.  The home may lose some points on the appraisal if indications are seen  of mold, rotten wood, etc.  Also, if the house is in disrepair and major appliances cannot be tested or are broken, that could cause lower marks on the appraisal.   If there is time and the ability to clean out a hoarder’s home before the appraisal, it would be beneficial to getting an accurate and possibly higher valuation.


Do Strong Odors Lower an Appraisal?


Another problem that could affect an appraised value is that of negative odors. If a home smells strongly of pet urine and feces, dampness, cigarette smoke, or other such odors it could indicate an overall lack of care for the home. This could trigger the appraiser to take off points for lack of maintenance. If your home has strong odors, a thorough cleaning,  and even painting with an odor-killing paint might be recommended.  This could help to bring the level of the home back to a price range that is more competitive with the market.


Does a Cluttered Home Affect an Appraisal? 


A cluttered home should not impact the appraised value in most cases.  As mentioned already, an appraiser is trained to view the condition of the home including the structure.  Clutter might affect the value if it has a negative impact on the structure of the home.  Otherwise, the appraiser will look beyond clutter at the characteristics  of the house and compare it to homes which are similar to the subject in the market area.


Do Appraisers Look in Closets?

An appraiser will look inside some of the closed doors to to get a fair sampling of the various rooms and closets in a home and assess the quality, condition and functionality of the home.  There’s no need to fret.  They have no interest in how organized or messy your closets are.  They’re also not required to take pictures of closets.



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Gynell Vestal

Certified Residential Appraiser, Gynell has a diverse appraisal background covering Commercial, Residential, Rural, Complex and Luxury Properties as well as National Appraisal Review work in the secondary Market. She began her Appraisal training in Oklahoma in 2001 covering Rural and Commercial Properties. With several years as a National Review Appraiser at Fannie Mae and other big banks, Gynell has keen insight into the secondary market guidelines and requirements.

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