Appraising a home's value is far from an exact science. Real estate appraisers consider several factors when trying to determine how much your home is worth. Your home's location and neighborhood play a role. Generally speaking, if your home sits on a busy street, it's appraised value will be lower than if it sat along a quiet side street. But other factors might outweigh the negative impact of a street choked with traffic.
The Appraiser's Role
The appraiser's job is to consider several factors to determine how much a home is worth. Lenders hire appraisers to make sure that their buyer clients aren't spending too much to purchase a home. They also hire appraisers when their clients want to refinance an existing mortgage loan. Most lenders require that homeowners have at least 20 percent equity in their homes before they'll grant them a refinance. To determine equity, lenders must first know how much a home is worth.
Appraisers will usually penalize a home for sitting on a busy road. That's because fewer buyers typically want to purchase a home that is so close to traffic. This reduces the demand for a particular home and also reduces the price that people are willing to pay for it. The home's location -- in this case, alongside a busy road -- is just one factor that an appraiser considers when setting a market value for a home. But it is an important one.
Appraisers will consider the improvements that homeowners made to their residences -- such as the addition of a master bedroom suite or a kitchen gut renovation -- when determining how much a home is worth. They'll also consider the condition of a home. If homes show obvious signs of neglect, such as peeling paint or appliances that no longer work, appraisers will ding a home's value. Appraisers consider, too, the sales prices that other homes in the area have fetched. If a home scores well on all these additional factors, it might still appraise at a high value even if it does sit on busy road.
What You Can Do
Homeowners can't change the fact that their residence sits next to a busy road. They can take steps, though, to make sure their home is well-maintained and updated. Homeowners can boost their home's appraised value by repairing cracked driveways, patching leaking roofs and repairing broken dishwashers. They can fix windows that no longer open, replace torn carpeting, and repaint peeling kitchen and living-room walls. Those owners who want to further improve their home's value can invest in the improvements that make residences attractive to buyers. This can include new kitchen cabinets, the addition of a master bathroom and new stainless steel appliances.
Don Rafner has been writing professionally since 1992, with work published in "The Washington Post," "Chicago Tribune," "Phoenix Magazine" and several trade magazines. He is also the managing editor of "Midwest Real Estate News." He specializes in writing about mortgage lending, personal finance, business and real-estate topics. He holds a Bachelor of Arts in journalism from the University of Illinois.