Home appraisals are crucial steps in the real estate process, but beyond the obvious factors like location and square footage, there are four surprising elements that can significantly influence the outcome. First, the condition of neighboring properties can impact appraisal values, as they reflect the overall desirability of the area. Second, recent sales prices of nearby homes can sway the appraiser's assessment, demonstrating market trends and comparables. Third, unique features or upgrades, such as smart home technology or energy-efficient appliances, can add unexpected value. Lastly, external factors like local zoning changes or upcoming developments can affect appraisals by altering the neighborhood landscape. Understanding these less obvious determinants can help homeowners navigate the appraisal process more effectively.