Will A Cleaner House Be Appraised At A Higher Value?

It's time to think about moving. You're excited about selling your home and moving into a new space that better fits your needs. Before you can do that, you have to sell your home. Selling your home is very much a process of convincing someone else that your home is worth what you are listing it at on the market. To believe that the home is worth it, prospective buyers need to position themselves in that home. Can they do that with the clutter, dirty walls, and stains on the carpeting?

Even if the buyers believe the house is perfect for them, a professional appraiser has to come in and determine the home's actual value. Investopedia notes that an appraiser must determine whether the home's current price fits its value based on its location, features, size, and even its condition.

How does a messy home play into this picture? Will it limit your ability to sell? 

Will the mess cost you?

If your home needs cleaning, it really could cost you money, depending on the extensiveness and type of mess present. An appraiser doesn't care about fingerprints or toys on the floor when creating the house appraisal so much as the structural integrity and overall safety of the home.

If your home has a buildup of mold and mildew, that could pose a health hazard. It could also mean that the structure under the mold, such as the floorboards is no longer stable. The American Cleaning Institute recommends prioritizing the removal of mold and mildew to prevent any adverse reactions from the buyers.

It's not likely that the appraiser will care much about freshly baked cookies or flowers, but they are going to look at things like water spots on the ceiling or areas with a significant buildup of garbage. All of this could create a space that is hard to evaluate or one that may not be as structurally sound as others.

What about clutter, though?

From the pile of toys in the closet to the floors that need to be swept, these types of cleaning concerns typically do not play a role in the appraised value of the home, or at least they should not. Appraisers are tasked with estimating the value of a property based on its condition, location, size, and other features, but that doesn't mean it's okay to overlook the mess.

According to Josh Lavik & Associates, an appraiser who comes into a very dirty home is likely to look for other concerns. They may look a bit harder to find out if you are hiding something or if there is an unnoticed problem with the structure or overall condition of the home that you haven't taken care of before the appraisal.

If there is a pile of food waste, the appraiser may look harder to be sure there are no pests in the home and damage from them. If the floors are covered in dirt, they probably need to be replaced. That could mean that the appraiser views the home's flooring as a lower-quality material. These things could impact your value, but the dirty windows from dog slobber probably will not.