10 Factors in Your Home Appraisal

Real Estate Pictures You may want to consider making changes to your home so you can get the most out of your appraisal. See more pictures of real estate.

Paying someone several hundred dollars to tell you how much -- or how little -- your home is worth may not be the best part of selling a house, but having an appraiser review and record all of the upgrades and improvements you've made to your property can be rewarding. And when it comes time to sell, it would be great to set a price based on what you think your own home is worth, but the bank will likely want something more objective before it's ready to match that price with a mortgage for a homebuyer. And that's where the appraiser comes in. He acts as a kind of middleman who assesses homes by their condition and by how they compare to other similar homes in the area. Though appraisers work off of checklists that measure real values in a property, they also have experience and training in raising or lowering the home price based on what buyers want and on how sellers have cared for or neglected their properties.

The price your appraiser sets can make or break the sale of your home, so it is an extremely important step in the home sale -- and buying -- process. Maybe you can't do anything about the Day-Glo green house next door or the plunging real estate market, but you can show off the love and care you've put into your home sweet home over the years. You might even want to consider making minor -- or even major -- changes to your home so you can get the most out of your appraisal, and ultimately, from a buyer.