Interview Home Appraiser to Improving Home Values

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I recently had the opportunity to interview an appraiser, Janelle Shallenberger, CRA, who has been in the appraisal business for almost 40 year. As the owner of American Midwest Appraisers, she has specialized in residential and VA homes for many years. I asked her the question we all want to ask our appraisers – how do I improve my homes overall value. Here are some answers to some of the most commonly asked questions of appraiser.

What do you tell people when they ask how they can improve their home value?
That’s a great question. I am asked that all the time. One of the first things I tell a person when they ask me about improving the value of their homes is they should never do anything to their homes that they are not doing for themselves. Usually, a homeowner will not get as much out of their home as they put in. It’s important to pick something that THEY want to do. However, there are several things that most people look at when buying a home.

What things are good to focus on if you have a limited budget?
Kitchens sell! If you are going to spend money on an improvement, improving the kitchen is one of the biggest payoffs. Though you will likely not get out of it what you put it, you will find that your overall value improves with an updated kitchen.

How important are landscaping and outdoor amenities?
Most outdoor improvements will have some effect on the overall value; however, fences and pools have a particular buyer appeal and therefore may not be for all buyers. They will not increase the value of your home as much as you put into them. However, basic landscaping, such as bushes and trees, will give you curb appeal, which is very important when you are selling.

What about updating the roof?
The roof is important. You have to have a roof and it needs to be in good shape. If it’s time for a replacement, it’s time for a replacement. You can’t put it off. However, it is important to realize that your house MUST have a roof and, therefore, fixing or replacing your roof doesn’t typically increase the value of your home, only keep it where it should be. However, a bad roof can decrease the value of your home.

If you have an old house, where should you concentrate your money to update if you have a limited budget?
As mentioned before, you need to have a good roof so you will want to look at the roof as well as the heating and air conditioning system, the water heater, and the electrical system. Though improving these will not necessarily increase the value of your home it will help you ensure that your home is up to code and you can get the best sales price for your home.

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