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Do Cleaner Homes Appraise For More Money?

Do Cleaner Homes Appraise For More Money?


July 22nd 2022

Selling your home is a long journey, but it doesn’t end with accepting an offer. Unless your buyer is paying in cash, the lender is going to want to make sure that the house is really worth the price that you’ve agreed on—and a home appraiser is the one who’ll come check out your house and make that decision. If the appraiser thinks your house isn’t worth the agreed-upon price, the lender won’t give your buyer full funding and the deal might fall through.

With so much on the line, can you woo this home appraiser? Not with flowers—or even a wink and a nudge toward some cash casually left on the dining room table. But can an impeccably clean home dazzle that disinterested real estate professional into valuing your house higher than if it were a pigpen?

Put in some elbow grease

Appraisers are normal people. When they see something that looks nice and looks clean and presents well, they’ll have a better impression of the property. But that won’t affect the appraisal value.

But agents (here’s how to find a real estate agent in your area) see it a different way.

Having your house clean does make a difference, even though in theory it should not.  Appraisers are people, and they are swayed by smells and how a house feels, even if they aren’t conscious of it.

That’s not all that might affect their impression, either.

Someone in a good mood is far more likely to give you a better appraisal than someone in a rotten mood will, so make the appraiser’s job as easy as possible.

A 2011 study found that court judges gave out stiffer sentences leading up to lunch break, but were more lenient after they ate, suggesting that hunger can actually change the course of justice. And what is an appraiser if not a judge?

Hand in your homework

You can do much more than just a deep cleaning to show your home in the best light. First, create a list of all upgrades and notable features (especially things that don’t leap out, like underground drainage systems or newly installed HVAC systems). Then you can gently guide your appraiser through the property, pointing out upgrades.

Set the mood

Choose very carefully what your home’s first impression should be. Some say the first impression is best, but maybe it’s better to tell the story visually of the impact your improvements have made.  Consider ending on the best area of your home during the tour.

Consider hiring cleaners to do a full scrub, spot-cleaned the walls, scrape away peeling paint, and touche ups. 

Comps and cookies

While you’re showing off your home’s worth, it’s also beneficial to point out the competition. You know—comparable properties, also known as comps. Ask your agent for a list, which I'd be happy to provide!

And if you want to make sure your house appraiser isn’t hangry? Refreshments are welcome—think of them as a gesture of courtesy.

So if you can clean your house, point out all the great work you’ve done, and provide some comps as well as snacks, you should be able to squeeze every bit of value from an appraisal. 

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