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Don’t Wait to Winterize Your Home, Appraisal Institute Advises

November 20, 2019 08:00 AM

The nation’s largest professional association of real estate appraisers today advised homeowners not to wait for the upcoming cold months to winterize their property.

“With autumn coming to a close, now is a great time for homeowners to make improvements that likely will have a return on investment in the winter and throughout the year,” said Appraisal Institute President Stephen S. Wagner MAI, SRA, AI-GRS. “Updates to properties can make the colder months more comfortable and potentially improve an owner’s quality of life.”

According to Remodeling magazine’s 2019 Cost vs. Value Report, home improvement projects with the highest expected return on investment are garage door replacement, manufactured stone veneer, minor kitchen remodeland entry door replacement (steel).

Other winterization renovations that homeowners might consider are protection for landscaping, decks, poolsand roofs, which can potentially add to property values.

For an unbiased analysis of what their home would be worth both before and after an improvement project, a homeowner can work with a highly qualified real estate appraiser – such as a Designated Member of the Appraisal Institute – to conduct a feasibility study.

The Appraisal Institute encourages consumers to check with a qualified, competent appraiser before making decisions on which winterization projects to complete. “Designated appraisers, such as Designated Members of the Appraisal Institute, have met stringent educational requirements and have considerable professional experience,” Wagner said. “An experienced appraiser can share ideas on renovations, keeping in mind community norms.”

According to the Energy Saver Guide, produced by U.S. Department of Energy, weatherizing a home can save money and energy. For example, by sealing uncontrolled air leaks consumers can save 10%-20% on heating and cooling bills which comprise approximately 35%-40% of a property’s annual energy use. The Energy Saver Guide also says homeowners should:

  • Insulate air ducts that are in unconditioned spaces. If the ducts are poorly sized, poorly sealed or poorly insulated, they are likely contributing to higher energy bills.
  • Clean warm-air registers, baseboard heaters, and radiators as needed. Make sure they’re not blocked by furniture, carpeting or drapes.
  • Follow manufacturer recommendations. If the hot water tank is warm to the touch, consider insulating it to save 7%-16% annually in water heating costs.
  • Install heat traps on the hot and cold pipes at the water heater to prevent heat loss. Most new water heaters have built-in heat traps.
  • Determine their eligibility for weatherization and home energy assistance.

For additional information on home improvements, see the Appraisal Institute’s Home Improvement Tips fact sheet.


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The Appraisal Institute is a global professional association of real estate appraisers, with nearly 18,000 professionals in almost 50 countries throughout the world. Its mission is to advance professionalism and ethics, global standards, methodologies, and practices through the professional development of property economics worldwide. Organized in 1932, the Appraisal Institute advocates equal opportunity and nondiscrimination in the appraisal profession and conducts its activities in accordance with applicable federal, state and local laws. Individuals of the Appraisal Institute benefit from an array of professional education and advocacy programs, and may hold the prestigious MAI, SRPA, SRA, AI-GRS and AI-RRS designations. Learn more at




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