Making Sense of the Appraisal Process

Acquiring a home can be the most serious investment some of us will ever consider. It doesn't matter if it's where you raise your family, an additional vacation home or a rental fixer upper, purchasing real property is a complex transaction that requires multiple parties to make it all happen.

To learn more about appraising, click here to see a short video or call us today to talk about your specific property.


Practically all the people participating are very familiar. The real estate agent is the most known entity in the exchange. Next, the bank provides the money necessary to fund the exchange. The title company sees to it that all areas of the sale are completed and that a clear title passes from the seller to the purchaser.

So what party is responsible for making sure the real estate is consistent with the purchase price?   This is where you meet the appraiser.   We provide an unbiased opinion of what a buyer could expect to pay - or a seller receive - for a parcel of real estate, where both buyer and seller are informed parties. A professional Virginia licensed appraiser from Techcorps Real Estate will ensure you as an interested party are informed.

Appraisals start with the property inspection

Our first responsibility at Techcorps Real Estate is to inspect the property to ascertain its true status. We must see aspects of the property hands on, such as the number of bedrooms and bathrooms, the location, and so on, to ensure they indeed are there and are in the condition a reasonable buyer would expect them to be. To ensure the stated size of the property is accurate and describe the layout of the property, the inspection often requires creating a sketch of the floor plan. Most importantly, we identify any obvious amenities - or defects - that would affect the value of the house.

Once the site has been inspected, we use two or three approaches when determining the value of the property: a paired sales analysis, a replacement cost calculation, and an income approach when rental properties are prevalent.

Replacement Cost

Here, we use information on local building costs, labor rates and other elements to determine how much it would cost to replace the property being appraised. This figure usually sets the maximum on what a property would sell for. The cost approach is also the least used method.

Sales Comparison

Appraisers get to know the neighborhoods in which they work. We innately understand the value of certain features to the people of that area. Then, the appraiser researches recent transactions in close proximity to the subject and finds properties which are 'comparable' to the real estate in question. Using knowledge of the value of certain items such as remodeled rooms, types of flooring, energy efficient items, patios and porches, or additional storage space, we adjust the comparable properties so that they more accurately match the features of subject property.

  • For example, if the comparable property has an irrigation system and the subject doesn't, the appraiser may deduct the value of an irrigation system from the sales price of the comparable.
  • If the subject property has an extra half-bathroom and the comparable does not, the appraiser might add a certain amount to the comparable property.
When it comes to putting a value on features of homes in Fairfax and Fairfax, Techcorps Real Estate is second to none. The sales comparison approach to value is most often given the most consideration when an appraisal is for a home purchase.

Valuation Using the Income Approach

In the case of income producing properties - rental houses for example - we may use a third approach to value. In this scenario, the amount of revenue the property generates is taken into consideration along with other rents in the area for comparable properties to determine the current value.

The Bottom Line

Combining information from all applicable approaches, the appraiser is then ready to put down an estimated market value for the subject property. It is important to note that while this amount is probably the strongest indication of what a house would sell for in an open market, it may not be the price at which the property closes. There are always mitigating factors such as the seller's desire to get out of the property, urgency or 'bidding wars' that may adjust an offer or listing price up or down. But the appraised value is often employed as a guideline for lenders who don't want to loan a buyer more money than the property would likely sell for in an open marketplace. Here's what it all boils down to: An appraiser from Techcorps Real Estate will help you get the most fair and balanced property value, so you can make wise real estate decisions.