5 Things Real Estate Appraisers Want You to Know

Wouldn’t it make things so much easier if there was a blog containing all the things residential appraisers want sellers to know about their home appraisals? We thought so too, because here it is!

That’s right, we’re unveiling all the mysteries. (Well, maybe not all of them—you wouldn’t need us if you already knew everything.)

First, let’s talk about home improvements.

The Value of Home Improvements

There are many good reasons to make home improvements, but there are some common misconceptions about what these improvements mean for your home’s appraised value.

It’s good to know that what you spend on home improvements usually does NOT mean a dollar-for-dollar increase in your home’s appraised value or its sale price. 

Here’s an example: If you spend $50,000 on a kitchen improvement, it may bring only $25,000 in increased appraised value. There are many variables to consider, such as the following:

  • Your neighborhood
  • Your particular home (square footage, number of bedrooms and bathrooms, and so on)
  • The overall market

Sometimes cosmetic improvements to your home, like paint, floor coverings, and updating (rather than remodeling) the kitchen and baths, can bring a great return on investment. Something as simple as updating cabinet hardware or fixtures can also have excellent ROI. It often comes down to the current home trends and the personal preferences of those in the market to buy a home.

If you’re wondering whether a particular improvement or remodel is worth doing to your home in your neighborhood, it’s always a good idea to chat with a local real estate agent. We also recommend that you check out our blog on Highest ROI: Top Home Renovations for more insight on which projects are—and are not—worth the monetary investment.

It’s important to remember that when you’re going into a home appraisal, the work done on the house may not add value in precisely the way you assumed it would. This is where pre-appraisal tools can come in handy, because they provide a home value reality check before the official appraisal even occurs.

By the way, Kairos’ pre-appraisal tools, which can be accessed on our Pocket Appraisal site, also provide the estimated appraisal fee, expected turnaround time, and pocket comps, all before the appraisal is even ordered.

Prepping Your Space

Here are some ways that you can prepare your home for an upcoming appraisal:

  • Declutter the yard
  • Clean up inside
  • Ensure that your appraiser can move around easily

Remember, real estate appraisers aren’t going to judge your home’s cleanliness, but you still want to show the property in its best possible light. Consider this like a test run for prospective buyers, and give the outside of your home the attention it deserves, because curb appeal can be a crucial factor.

Making sure that your home looks spic and span can only help you during the appraisal, and it makes the appraiser’s job a little easier, too. 

Gather Documentation

Appraisers working on your home valuation want to see all the information you have about your property, so gather it up to give to them before they even start the process.

Here are some of the documents you should have on hand:

  • Building permit information for home improvements
  • List of major improvements made to the home
  • Information on the age of the roof and other major systems in the home

Kairos’ Pocket Appraisal tool has made it easier than ever to submit all the information a homeowner has on their property BEFORE the home inspection takes place. Providing this documentation helps appraisers determine the most accurate value of your home, so the more you give them, the better, and it means less digging later.

If you’re curious about what other information may be requested during the appraisal, check out our blog on 7 Questions Residential Appraisers Ask Homeowners.

What a Licensed Appraiser Actually Does

To clear up any misconceptions about the work property appraisers do, we’ve broken it down for you below.


  • Create a report based on a visual inspection
  • Determine an unbiased, professional opinion of the value of the home, independent of the mortgage lender, buyer, and seller
  • Follow rules, regulations, and uniform standards of a professional appraisal, which are designed to protect all parties in a transaction


  • Complete a full inspection of potential issues with the home (that’s a home inspection)
  • Make up arbitrary values

Whether the appraisal has been ordered for a home purchase or a refinance, now that you understand what real estate appraisers actually do, you know what to expect going into the process.

Appraisers Aren’t Magicians

We have to tell you something: Appraisers don’t magically know what the value of a home is. They aren’t clairvoyant, no matter how good they are. (Now you know our biggest secret.)

A lot of work goes into a home appraisal, most of which happens AFTER a home visit. Appraisers take measurements, snap pictures, draw sketches, and look at public records on the home. They also consider the surrounding neighborhood and recent comps to determine value.

Getting a home’s value right takes a lot of time, expertise, and effort. If you think the process is taking longer than you would like, remember that we are doing our best to give you the most accurate home valuation.

A Better Appraisal Process

Now that you have a better idea of what appraisers want sellers to know, keep all these things in mind the next time your home would require an appraisal, so it results in a more pleasant process for everyone involved.

Here at Kairos Appraisal, we have a huge team of appraisers who will give your home the attention it deserves. If you’re ready to experience the Kairos difference, please reach out to us here or give us a call at 425-967-3794.

Alex Todak