Are you planning to sell your home or refinance your mortgage? If so, you’ll want to make sure that your home appraisal comes back with the highest possible value. After all, a low appraisal can mean losing money on the sale or getting turned down for a refinance. But what can hurt a home appraisal, and how can you prevent it? Here are 16 factors that can bring the value down, and what you can do about them.

1. Poor Curb Appeal

The first thing an appraiser will see is the exterior of your home. If it’s in disrepair, has peeling paint or an overgrown lawn, it could lower the value.

2. Structural Issues

Structural issues, such as cracks in the foundation, roof leaks or outdated electrical or plumbing systems, can lower the value.

3. Clutter and Mess

A messy home can make it hard for an appraiser to see the property’s full potential. A cluttered interior can also make it feel smaller than it actually is.

4. Outdated Fixtures and Appliances

If your home has outdated fixtures and appliances, such as an old furnace or appliances that don’t work, it could lower the value.

5. Pet Damage and Odors

Pets are great companions, but they can also do a number on a home. Appraisers will notice pet damage and odors, and it could lower the value.

6. Busy Street or Location

A busy street or location near a noisy or unpleasant neighbor can lower the value of a home.

7. Poor Condition of Flooring and Walls

Damaged or outdated flooring and walls can lower the value of a home. Stained carpet, chipped tiles or peeling wallpaper are all warning signs.

8. Lack of Maintenance

A lack of maintenance can lead to bigger issues down the road, and appraisers will notice. Regular maintenance can help maintain or increase your home’s value.

9. Poor Quality of Materials

Using poor quality materials, such as low-grade countertops or cabinetry, can lower the value of a home.

10. Overimprovement

While updating your home is a good thing, overimprovement can lead to diminishing returns. Over-the-top renovations may not always be reflected in the appraisal value.

11. Unpermitted Additions or Renovations

Unpermitted additions or renovations can lead to a lower appraisal value. Make sure all work was completed with the proper permits.

12. Lack of Natural Light

A dark interior can make a home feel small and unwelcoming. Appraisers may take this into account when assessing the value.

13. Unfinished Projects

If you’ve started a renovation project but haven’t finished it, it could lower the value of your home.

14. Environmental Hazards

Environmental hazards, such as mold or asbestos, can lower the value of a home.

15. Market Conditions

The current state of the housing market can also impact your home’s appraisal value. If it’s a buyer’s market, it could mean lower values.

16. Location

The location of your home can also impact the appraisal value. Homes in desirable areas or neighborhoods may have a higher value than those in less desirable areas.

Now that you know what factors can hurt a home appraisal, how can you prevent them? Start by addressing any structural issues, making necessary repairs, and giving your home a deep cleaning. Consider updating outdated fixtures and appliances, and decluttering and depersonalizing your space. Keep up with regular maintenance and use high-quality materials for any renovations. Make sure any work was done with proper permits, and address any environmental hazards. Lastly, consider the current market conditions and location when setting your asking price. By addressing these factors, you can help ensure that your home appraisal comes back with the highest possible value.