8 Tips for Raising Your Home Appraisal

Image credit: Jared Wiener/ABC News

For six months, Jessica and Carl Doerrer's home in Hackettstown, N.J., has sat on the market.

Despite today's news that record low interest rates are encouraging more home buyers to finally purchase, in the Doerrers' case, their house has had no offers.

Now they're asking for $225,000 even though they bought the house for $325,000 six years ago.

What's worse? The house was appraised at $190,000. That gap, experts told ABC News, could be a huge problem if the Doerrers get an offer. When it comes to selling or refinancing a home, they say, banks aren't loaning the difference to any family these days.

"When a bank gets a low appraisal, they often won't do the loan at all because they feel as though it is overvalued … and they feel at risk," said Barbara Corcoran, a real estate expert and founder of the Corcoran Group. "So you can implore with the bank that they get a second look but the fact of the matter is it's rarely turned around."

ABC News brought in Alice Palmisano, the executive director of Brown Harris Stevens Appraisal and Consulting, to assess the Doerrers' home.

Keep reading to see the "after" shot of the room above and more "before/after" images.

She pointed out the overgrown yard - "I didn't bring my machete" - the clutter in the office and the carpet.

After the family removed their furniture, rolled up the rug and cut down the hedges, the Doerrers were still left with seven pages of additional work to do - and just 48 hours to do it.

In the end, the Doerrers spent $1,600 on improvements to their house. Their home was later appraised again and came in at $214,000 - $24,000 more than the previous estimate.

Below are detailed tips Palmisano shared with ABC News:

  1. The First Sight. Appraisers can hack off hundreds, even thousands, of dollars from your home's value just for having an unkempt yard.
  2. Small Subliminals. Palmisano said you don't have to redo the entire kitchen. Adding a new faucet can be considered an update and it adds value.
  3. Address the mess. Clutter isn't just an eyesore; it costs money too. Experts say a clean, clutter-free house can appraise 10 percent higher than the exact same messy home.
  4. Out With the Old, In With the New. Palmisano said an old TV can make an entire room look dated.
  5. The Naked Truth. Palmisano said carpet on top of carpet will read like there's a stain. You don't want to give the appraiser the impression that you're hiding something.
  6. Remove Excess Furniture. Maximize your space and how it's perceived. The less furniture you have in a room, the larger the space looks.
  7. Everything in Your Home Should Work. If something doesn't work properly, replace it, fix it or remove it. When people come to see your home - buyers and appraisers - it can be hands on. If there is a knob that is broken or loose, fix it.
  8. Show Property in Best Light. If there is a feature in your home that is special, point it out. Keep the door open to a phenomenal closet before the appraiser comes.

Image credit: Jared Wiener/ABC News

Image credit: Jared Wiener/ABC News

Image credit: Jared Wiener/ABC News