A visit from an appraiser is an inevitable   part of selling your home. Even if the buyer is happy to pay what you ask for your home, the lender will still require that an objective third party, in the from of a professional appraiser, come through the home to determine its value. Because the appraiser operates independently, his or her opinion will be based purely on the market and the state of your property. But, while you may not be able to sway the final verdict, it’s certainly worthwhile to know what an appraiser looks for in determining the value of a home.

Your Homes Exterior-The foundation, walls and roof.

All three play a major role in the functionality and the reliability of the construction. He/she will be looking for any damage to these components.
Size of the Property
The size of your lot and the size of your home are both important. The more bedrooms and bathrooms you have, the more value. The square footage of the home will make up a large portion of what goes into figuring out the appraised value of the home.
CONDITION OF THE INTERIOR

Even if the Roof, Siding, Foundation are all in excellent shape-
Things like windows and doors, flooring, walls, plumbing, electrical, kitchens and bathrooms are all important. Even down to the appliances your home .

Extras and Additions

In hot climates a swimming pool if in good shape and in an area where people are willing to pay, this could add value.

Even things you may consider basic like insulated windows, fireplaces, a garage or a security system can add value.

HOW TO CHALLENGE A LOW REAL ESTATE APPRAISAL

There are steps you can take in order for your sale to proceed to closing. If you get stuck with a low appraisal the first thing is get a copy to go over with a fine tooth comb.

There are cases where a home comes in at a value lower than it should because the appraiser made a mistake, clerical or square footage is off. Or not giving the value to a superior location your home resides.

If there are no errors in the report, you should also look at the comparable properties that are used. Are they truly comparable?

As a last resort ask the buyer to have another appraisal done. There will be a cost associated with getting a second appraisal, so be prepared to pay for this.

Other helpful Real Estate Appraisal Resources:

What appraisers and assessors do to determine value via The United States Department of Labor.

Facts about real estate appraisals by About.com

This article was found on Realtor.org AND the author of What Appraisers look at during a real estate appraisal was provided by Bill Gassett, a nationally recognized leader in his field.