Appraise The Lord

One part of our recent refinance that we haven’t yet expanded upon was the home appraisal that was required as a part of the process. It was admittedly a bit exciting and nerve racking at the same time. Exciting because, for the first time since we purchased in 2006, we’d know exactly what all of our improvements were worth to our home’s value. Nerve racking because, well, we all know what the market is doing to home prices these days…

The appraisal process was also interesting because it was a chance for us to reminisce about all of the improvements we did over the last 3 years (the appraiser asked what we updated and couldn’t believe our lengthy list). In being asked to recite all that we did, we came up with this list of everything that’s changed (each bullet is conveniently linked to more info & pics on that subject):



We provided a very general estimate of what we estimate we spent (and expected that not all of it would show up in our appraised home value in this sluggish economy) but we were pleasantly surprised when our appraisal came back at that exact amount over the purchase price. Not to mention that the appraiser said it deserved to be even higher, he just couldn’t find comps in the area to justify it on paper. We’re just overjoyed to see our home’s value moving in the upward direction at all, let alone recouping all of our improvement costs thus far in such a bum market.

Have you guys had any interesting home appraisal experiences lately? Or are most of you just shielding yourselves from even having to know at this point? Do tell.


  1. says

    congrats… your house is beautiful… It is something that you two can truly be proud of. My wife and I are beginning to go down this road. We are just in the home buying position. Searching for a good skeleton to fix up… You guys got your hands on one, that’s for sure. Nice work.

  2. says

    Congrats! The house looks great and I’m sure when the real estate market bounces back, the price will go up even more.

    Houston housing market is relatively stable right now since we never had a bubble to burst in the first place, but that being said, things are definitely taking longer to sell. We thought about getting the house appraised “just to see”, but haven’t worked up the nerve just yet.

  3. Sarah says

    We were very pleased when we got our appraisal back. We bought in August 2008 at what seemed like a good deal. When we had our home appraised in December 2008 it came in $24,000 higher than our purchase price. Holler!

    We have not done a thing to the place yet. We are saving up for some big projects like new hardwood and carpet throughout the whole house. We were very happy to have our suspicions that we got a killer deal validated. I really can’t wait to get our new flooring!

  4. says

    We thought having our home appraised was really gratifying too! Takes you down memory lane, doesn’t it? All of the back breaking, mind blowing work over the past two years (well it was fun too!) sorta showed up in the numbers. When we moved in to our little rancher in Colorado it didn’t even have a functioning kitchen… for 4 months! There was a hostage situation in our home in the past (I know CRAZY, no one died.. and surprisingly it’s a nice neighborhood-not the ghetto)so many of the windows were blown out/boarded up, and automatic weapon holes in the tile, drywall and everywhere. Talk about a project!! We spent about $25,000 on improvements so far and the appraisal came back $30,000 higher than the purchase price. Plus we still have to finish the pathetic ripped out basement, and many other things. Not too shabby!

  5. Babs says

    Wow, you guys have been busy! Lol, I’m in awe of everything you’ve done to improve your house. I might use this as an example to my guy when I need to convince him that “that next house project” is worth it ;)

  6. says

    Wow, that’s great! When we appraised last month, our appraisers didn’t care about home improvement projects, and they pretty much only looked at comps. It was quite an ordeal… we had two appraisers and two reviews analyze our house value before they agreed on the value. They are having to be ultra cautious! We didn’t gain in home value, but we didn’t loose any either… right at our purchase price.

  7. elizabeth says

    We are looking into refinancing, and our real estate agent thinks our house will appraise for 25-40k more than we paid for it 2.5 years ago…

  8. Beth says

    I know you probably don’t mean any offense, and as a loyal reader, I love your blog and your clever titles, but I find this particular one offensive.

    As a Christian, I believe that the Lord’s name is sacred and so playing on phrase “Praise the Lord” and making it “Appraise the Lord” seems like making fun of it, especially during Holy Week.

    Again I am not accusing you of anything, just wanted to let you know that some people might find your title offensive. maybe more innocuous titles would be better in the future?

    • YoungHouseLove says

      Hey Beth,

      We certainly didn’t mean to offend! We’re just so thankful about our recent appraisal that the phrase “praise the Lord” came to mind… and the fact that it sounded a lot like “appraise” seemed to make it the perfect way to talk about how grateful we are for our home’s value after so much hard work!


  9. Joan says

    But, um, doesn’t that mean you’ll need to pay more in taxes? Or is this a different sort of appraisal?

    • YoungHouseLove says

      Hey Joan,

      Since the appraisal was conducted privately for the benefit of the loan company (to ensure that our house was worth investing in), it wasn’t released to the state… so our taxes shouldn’t budge! However, we have been advised to tell our homeowner’s insurance about the new value so they can adjust our coverage to ensure that the whole house is protected (after all the hard work we definitely want to be sure it’s covered). So our insurance may go up by a few dollars each month (it’s built into the mortgage so we should hardly notice it) but the peace of mind is well worth it! Hope it helps!


  10. ASHLEY says

    We have spent well over 30,000 on our house and I don’t want to know what it’s worth until it’s time to sell. It really dosen’t mattter since we aren’t refinancing. Hopefully it will gain value over time, but it’s a place for us to live and not our retirement. If we knew what it was worth in this market we would probably stop renovating… and who wants to do that?!

  11. says

    Hey Youngsters,

    I was thinking about replacing all of the windows in my 60 year old home to new energy efficient ones. Do you have any advice or the expected cost for about 12 windows (3 of those one big living room window? And was it worth it when it came to bills, gas, electric?


    • YoungHouseLove says

      Hey Kim,

      After a few estimates and a hint from a neighbor, we ended up going with Window World (they’re a national chain that charges something like $179 per window- no matter the size). Of course there are hauling fees for the old windows and other charges built in for added perks (low-e and argon gas), so after it was all said and done we had 11 windows replaced for around $2700. Going with the low-e argon gas windows helps us to be as energy efficient as possible (they’re also a huge selling feature these days) and we’ve already noticed substantial savings when it comes to heating and cooling. Plus we got a tax write off for going for “green” windows! We used to have old drafty windows and it’s so nice not to feel the wind blow through out house anymore! Definitely worth the investment. Hope it helps!


  12. says

    We are upgrading our house, project by project. We are looking to sell in 4 to 5 years. We are hoping to get some profit by ‘modernizing’ our 30+ year old home. Right now we have no idea what our return will be. Just crossing our fingers and saying a prayer. You two have done so much. I’m sure it will pay off once the market picks back up.

  13. says

    Congratulations on that great news! We’re currently considering refinancing our home that we’ve been in for 6 years now. I’m excited to see what it appraises for! We havn’t done any major changes, but do have some smaller projects that I hope bodes well for us! Custom landscaping, custom plantation shutters in the front dining room, garage shelving, planted a tree, etc.

  14. says

    I hate to say this but the true appraisal only comes when you place your house on the market. Be it this market or the one of the future. It’s encouraging that the number was higher, but it’s discouraging that they have no comps to base your home on because its true value only comes in what someone is willing to pay. You may overimprove and never see the return if you keep going with large investments. You need to keep the values of homes in your neighborhood in mind too. I’ve learned that what I think might improve the property value is not what the neighborhood might support. I’m pretty sure you have some idea about what you are doing.

    On the flip side I bought my house in April, have done some improvements and according to the house has lost 16k in value due to the recession. Good thing houses are longterm investments and I’m in for the long haul.

    • YoungHouseLove says

      Hey Kristy,

      We’re definitely not the nicest house in the neighborhood! But since there are other larger and newer homes around us, they weren’t similar enough to our floor plan and our square footage to serve as true “comparables” on paper. But as more similar ranch homes around us get put up for sale with new kitchens and stuff in the future (we know many who have had work done but haven’t had their home appraised or sold so they’re “invisible” on paper), there will be more houses out there that can be considered on the same scale. At least that’s how we understand it. Does that make sense? But we know if we listed the house we’d be hard-pressed to get the new appraisal value these days! And the good news is that this is our forever house so we’re not worried about resale at all. Our plan is to stay here forever, and we’re just thankful that the house didn’t appraise super low cause it would have bummed us out!


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