What Is a Home Appraisal?

Must-Have Information for Buyers, Sellers, and Refinancers

Whether you’re applying for a mortgage to buy a home, refinancing your existing mortgage, or selling your home to anyone other than an all-cash buyer, a home appraisal is a key component of the transaction.

If you’re a buyer, owner, or seller, you’ll want to understand how the appraisal process works and how an appraiser determines a home’s value.

An appraisal for an average home usually costs $300 to $450, which is usually paid by the buyer.1


  • An appraisal is an unbiased professional opinion of a home’s value and is required whenever a mortgage is involved in buying, refinancing, or selling property.
  • A qualified appraiser creates a report based on an in-person inspection, research into recent sales of similar properties, current market trends, and the details of the home, including its size, condition, floor plan, and amenities.
  • The borrower usually pays the appraisal fee, which averages $300 to $450.
  • When the appraisal value is lower than expected, the transaction can be delayed or even canceled.


10 Surprising Factors That Can Affect a Home Appraisal

A home appraisal is an unbiased evaluation of your home’s worth. An objective third party will review various factors of your property and assign a value for what it should sell for. Home appraisals can help sellers set competitive prices so their listings generate offers while still turning a profit. On the buyer side, mortgage lenders often require home appraisals before approving loans to confirm it is selling at a fair price.

But what factors contribute to a home appraisal anyway? Is there anything you can do as a homeowner to increase the appraiser’s value estimate? Here are 10 factors that affect a home appraisal so you can show your property in its best light.


The home location is the first thing every home appraiser looks at – and one factor that is completely out of your control. The appraiser will consider the value of homes in the neighborhood as a whole before they ever look at your specific property. A house in a historic district might have a higher value than one in a business district. They will also consider additional factors that can raise or lower your home value. These include:

  • How close your home is to other properties, the street, and neighborhood amenities like a fire station.
  • Whether noise pollution (like a nearby airport or interstate) could create a poor living experience.
  • The home’s proximity to schools, parks, and other assets that make it desirable.
  • Whether the neighbors add or detract from the living experience. (Overgrown grass, a constantly-barking dog, or rude people can make homeownership a nightmare.)

Two homes of similar size in the same neighborhood could receive different appraisals if one is located right next to a major highway and the other is tucked into a quieter area.

How to Increase Home Value for an Appraisal

Whether you’re thinking about selling your home, borrowing from your home equity, or canceling private mortgage insurance (PMI), it’s worth considering how to increase home value for an appraisal.

While you can’t control every aspect of how your home is valued, properly preparing for a home appraisal can assist in making sure credit is given where due.

If you’re selling your home to a buyer prequalified for a home loan, it’s important to prepare for the appraisal. This step will be required before closing to determine the amount of money a lender is willing to provide.

Home values across the nation recently increased an average of 19% in a single year and are expected to rise an additional 5.7% in 2022. This may encourage homeowners to put a portion of their equity gains toward a remodeling project in the near future, but they’ll need an appraisal to obtain a home equity loan or take out a home equity line of credit (HELOC).

Let’s take a closer look at what you can do to increase your home’s appraised value, including light-lift projects as well as larger investments.


Ralene Nelson, REALTOR®

JUST LISTED – 348 Kestrel Way, Rio Vista

Step into this Savita floor plan & you will know this is your new home. This 2 bedroom 2 bath home offers you the great room concept with tile floors and carpet in the bedrooms. GE profile stainless appliances in the kitchen with granite slab counters & beech sierra natural cabinetry. Pantry closet & counter that accommodates bar stools for extra seating. Dining space has a bay window that provides that extra space for larger table. Primary bedroom has slider to the patio & walk in closet. Bath has double sinks & upgraded walk in shower. The 2nd bath has tub with shower over & linen cabinet. Backyard with patio is private with beautiful roses in bloom now. Low maintenance landscaping with automated sprinkler system. Trilogy, the active adult community offers so many activities that include golf, tennis bocce/pickle ball, billiards, gym & pools/spas. There is even a playground for your visiting grandchildren & dog park for your fur baby. There are over 40 plus clubs, from card groups, dancing & theater. Move in ready, so just bring your furniture. The bonus is prepaid solar lease, this provides a more economical PGE bill. MORE INFO

OPEN HOUSE – Saturday 1 pm – 3 pm
FOR SALE – 181 Cedar Ridge Dr. Rio Vista

2 bed/2 bath/1,433sqft

New Price $519,500 – Look no further!! This Clipper model is like a new home, completely renovated, from new sheet rock to all new cabinets throughout, new baths, laminate flooring, quartz counters, appliances, and new interior & exterior paint. Located on the 11th fairway, bring some patio furniture & enjoy the scenery. This model provides a living room/dining room & a nook/great room. Trilogy provides so many amenities, including 2 swimming pools/spas, bocce courts, billiards, tennis courts, pickleball, gym & more. READ MORE

FOR SALE – 731 Turnberry Ter Rio Vista
2 bed/2 bath/1410 sqft

$405,000 – NO BONDS-Spinnaker model with private backyard. This 2 bedroom, 2 bath home feels like a very relaxing cottage for a retirement home. The patio provides a quiet place for morning coffee & afternoon beverage. Den has built-in book/curio shelves & bay window. The Master bedroom has a bay window, which creates room for a sitting area. New hot water heater. Enjoy amenities such as golf, tennis, bocce, pools/spas & a new gym, and more. READ MORE

PENDING SALE – 649 Pinehurst Dr, Rio Vista
2 Bd/2 Ba/970 Sqft

$405,000 – Stop the car Honey!! This gorgeous home is move in ready, just bring your clothes & toys to start living an active retirement life. You step into this home located on a corner lot, and beautifully landscaped and know this is the one. Two bedroom & two bath home has tile flooring with carpet in the bedrooms. Kicthen looks fresh with white painted cabinets & granite counters with all newer stainless appliances & tiled backsplash. Counter provides a bar for entertainment/dining. Primary bedroom has wall to wall closet & bay window that makes a spacious room. The upgraded bath has granite counters, sink & a barn door for privacy. Seller is using the 2nd bedroom as a den with mounted TV & hideaway couch for your guests. Stepping out to the patio area provides you additional space for entertaining & is fully fenced for your pets. Laundry is in the garage, & the garage is deeper than most. Furniture is optional & can be purchase with exception of bed. The Trilogy development offers homeowners 2 swimming pools/spas (1 indoor), bocce ball & tennis courts, full gym, billiards, computer room, golf course, restaurant/cafe & over 40 clubs to join. Whats keeping you from making this your next home? READ MORE

Pending Sale – 295 Sage Meadows Drio Vista

3bed/3.5bath/2,367sqft/6,669sqft lot

NEW PRICE $549,000 – Calistoga model, with private courtyard, located on a corner lot. New interior paint (including garage) & tile/grout cleaned, gives this home a fresh look. Island kitchen with granite tile, black appliances, w/5 burner gas stove top & maple cabinets. Open floor plan makes this a great home for entertaining & the fireplace makes it cozy. Large master bedroom has bay window, upgraded tile in bath (walk in shower & tub). Den has been enclosed as well as another room, so this could be 4 bedrooms. One can be your den, other can be your craft/sewing room. 2nd bedroom has full bath, with courtyard entrance. Laundry room has sink, cabinets & folding space. Full patio & fencing secures this backyard for your family pet. Trilogy offers many amenities, from tennis, bocce, billards, pickle ball, golf, 2 pools & spas and even playground for grandchildren. Just bring your furniture & make new friends.READ MORE

Pending Sale – 1392 Lichen Ct, Concord
4 bed/3 bath/1,761sqft/7,980sqft lot

$889,000 – Look no further, as you enter this beautiful move-in ready home, you know this is the one, & it is located in a well-established neighborhood & close to shopping. Double front doors welcome you to this cheerful home that includes 4 bedrooms, 3 full baths, and features a bedroom & bath on the main floor. This is perfect for a nanny or family member living with you. The home has new interior paint and new LVT plank flooring/carpet throughout. The kitchen was refreshed with open space with newer cabinets, granite tile counters, a sink, a built-in oven/electric cooktop, a garden window & sliding door to the patio. The chef will be delighted with the walk-in pantry. The kitchen/den features a mobile prepping block with storage. Also, the upstairs hall bath was remodeled to include a new tub/shower & tile floor. The majority of light fixtures are new & fireplace has a pellet stove insert. RV/boat parking, storage shed & backyard can accommodate a swimming pool/spa. The backyard has a few fruit trees & room for a garden/play area. Room for a large BBQ with all your family & friends. This home has so much potential for the next homeowner. Solar leased 3/2020 for 25 yrs. Don’t miss out!! READ MORE

SOLD – 700 Michelbook Ln. Rio Vista

2 bed/2 bath/1,579sqft/5,693sf lot

$455,000 – Beautiful Atherton model, located in the Active Adult Community of Trilogy. Corner lot, 2 bedroom/2 bath home, with beautiful wood flooring, carpet in bedrooms & den. The kitchen has an island with granite counters, oak cabinets, some with glass fronts to show off your china, & gas range. Lots of counter space for the chef & has a pantry. The great room has built-in custom cabinets, a gas fireplace & overlooks the backyard. 65-inch mounted TV conveys with sale. Den also has built-in cabinets. The primary bedroom overlooks the backyard, the bath has double sinks & large walk-in closet. Fenced & private backyard with a roomy patio with all-weather cover.  READ MORE

Events in Northern California this Weekend

DIY Rummage Sale: Fundraiser for SFIOP 2023 Season at Stars & Moon Art Park

Saturday, April 29 · 10am – 7:30pm
1100 West Brannan Island Road Isleton

BYO junk for the first event of 2023 at the new Stars & Moon (formerly River’s Edge) Art Park! This is a daytime event, lunch available.

Come spend a beautiful day out on the slough with friends, music and a rummage sale full of odd objects!

Come early from 10am to noon to drop off your donated goods! Our team of elves will visually merchandise it and open the “shop” at noon.

Browse your friends’ recently rejected belongings to find special treasures for yourself. Then proceed to be assessed by our rotating lineup of amateur cashiers who will improvise pricing!

Affordable lunch options will be available at our outdoor kitchen, and there will be music to accompany your shopping spree. It will be a beautiful day in the Delta.

While our future season of events starting in May will be 2-night campouts, this event is a one-day fundraiser to support facilities and other improvements needed!

The more we raise, the more we can do! The park needs upgrades and repairs, the marina needs bathrooms, and we want to add a shadow puppet theater, an outdoor cinema and eventually an amazing treehouse!  READ MORE

Working Class Band – Live Music on the Delta
Saturday, April 29 · 5 – 8pm PDT
Tower Park Waterfront Grille, 14900 West Highway 12 Lodi


Enjoy great music and amazing food at Tower Park Waterfront Grille. FREE SHOWS 5p-8p


CBCA Clayton Art & Wine Festival

7:00pm. Sunday April 30th 10:00am – 5:00pm
Downtown Clayton, California Main Street Clayton

Please join us on April 29th and 30th for the 26th CBCA Clayton Art & Wine Festival in downtown Clayton. Stroll down Main Street and enjoy arts & crafts vendors while sipping your favorite wine or beer. Stop by the food court for a host of different foods. The little ones will have a blast in the kids play zone. Live music throughout the weekend. This is a FREE event, no ticket required. Hosted by the Clayton Business and Community Association. READ MORE

4th Annual Lodi Beerfest & BBQ Championship
Sat, Apr 29, 1 – 8 PM
Lodi Grape Festival Grounds, 413 E Lockeford St, Lodi, CA

The Lodi Beer Fest & State BBQ Championship features up to 50 local and national breweries, offering over 120 flavors. Join us and find a new favorite beer, toss a game of cornhole with friends and dance along to live music! Food will be available for purchase. READ MORE

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