Kitchen — DO have:
• New fixtures and mirrors
• A freshly painted tub if necessary
• Natural light
• Good ventilation
• New or refaced cabinetry
DON'T let your bathroom feel dark or have any outdated colors or materials.
- Pick plants that are evergreen and perennial so your yard always has pops of color.
- Put in new exterior light fixtures.
- Add on extra touches like shutters or planter boxes to give your exterior charm.
- Put a fresh coat of paint on the front door.
- Keep grass and landscaping healthy and not overgrown.
- Replace worn-out fencing.
DON'T try to change your home's style. "Always stay with the style of your home and go with the features that enhance it the most," says Tom Blair of Justin Thomas Appraisal in San Ramon, California.
- Incorporate a smooth and open layout. Anything that feels too cramped or doesn't make sense might need help from a good contractor before going on the market.
- Think about potential. Does a basement have the capability of turning into a media room, or are the ceilings too low?
- Fix negative features when possible. Small bathrooms, rooms that are accessed through other rooms, slanted second-floor ceilings and small kitchens can be a downside.
DO make a list of recent improvements to your home. Think big and small here — this can range from renovating the kitchen to painting your deck. Make sure your appraiser has a list when comparing your home to others in the area.
DO talk to your appraiser before the inspection. Discuss your house and its history. Find out the appraiser's history, number of years in business, and knowledge of the area. "The key in getting a fair appraisal is to have an appraiser that is experienced and knowledgable in the local market, and that you've checked out," says Greg Wilkinson of Worth Every Dollar Appraisals in Atlanta.
DO ask your agent to do a walk-through with the appraiser. Houzz user Genevieve Llerena says this is the best decision she made. "She pointed out all of the work that I'd done and made sure the appraiser was familiar with all of the comparables in our area. She reminded him of how our location made a difference in the comparables."
DON'T stage it for the appraiser. There's no need to do staging until you begin showing your home to buyers. Straightening up and doing light cleaning for the appraiser is fine, but not necessary.
After your appraisal:
DO consider getting a second opinion. Many lenders won't allow multiple appraisals for a loan, but if you're not getting an appraisal for lending purposes, it could be worthwhile to get more than one opinion of value if you feel like your home has been seriously undervalued.
More: See what else Houzzers suggest
Houzz Planning: How to Choose a Front Door
Good Spaces: Mastering the Open Floor Plan