A Description of the Appraisal Process

Buying a house is the largest transaction many people may ever consider. Whether it's where you raise your family, an additional vacation property or a rental fixer upper, the purchase of real property is a detailed financial transaction that requires multiple people working in concert 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.


You're probably familiar with the parties having a role in the transaction. The real estate agent is the most recognizable face in the transaction. Next, the lender provides the financial capital needed to bankroll the deal. The title company ensures that all details of the sale are completed and that the title is clear to pass to the buyer from the seller.

So what party makes sure the value of the real estate is in line with the purchase price?   In comes the appraiser.   We provide an unbiased estimate of what a buyer could expect to pay - or a seller receive - for a property, where both buyer and seller are informed parties. A professional Virginia licensed appraiser from Atlantic Appraisal Solutions, LLC will ensure you as an interested party are informed.

Inspecting the subject property

To ascertain the true status of the property, it's our duty to first perform a thorough inspection. We must see features first hand, such as the number of bedrooms and bathrooms, the location, and so on, to ensure they indeed exist and are in the condition a typical buyer would expect them to be. To make sure the stated size of the property has not been misrepresented and describe the layout of the home, the inspection often includes creating a sketch of the floor plan. Most importantly, we look for any obvious amenities - or defects - that would affect the value of the house.

Back at the office, we use two or three approaches when determining the value of real property: paired sales analysis and, in the case of a rental property, an income approach.

Replacement Cost

Here, we pull information on local construction costs, labor rates and other elements to figure out how much it would cost to build a property nearly identical to the one being appraised. This estimate often sets the upper limit on what a property would sell for. The cost approach is also the least used method.

Sales Comparison

Appraisers can tell you a lot about the communities in which they work. We thoroughly understand the value of particular features to the homeowners of that area. Then, the appraiser researches recent sales in the vicinity and finds properties which are 'comparable' to the property in question. Using knowledge of the value of certain items such as square footage, extra bathrooms, hardwood floors, fireplaces or view lots (just to name a few), we adjust the comparable properties so that they more accurately match the features of subject.

  • Say, for example, the comparable has an extra half bath that the subject does not, the appraiser may subtract the value of that half bath from the sales price of the comparable.
  • However, in the case where the subject has something such as an extra half bath that a comparable doesn't have, the appraiser might add the value of that bath to the comparable property.
A valid estimate of what the subject could sell for can only be determined once all differences between the comps and the subject have been evaluated. This approach to value is commonly awarded the most importance when an appraisal is for a real estate sale.

Valuation Using the Income Approach

A third method of valuing a house is sometimes applied when a neighborhood has a reasonable number of rental properties. In this case, the amount of income the real estate yields is taken into consideration along with income produced by nearby properties to determine the current value.

Arriving at a Value Conclusion

Combining information from all approaches, the appraiser is then ready to stipulate an estimated market value for the property at hand. It is important to note that while the appraised value is probably the most reliable indication of what a property would sell for in an open market, it probably will not be the price at which the property closes. It's not uncommon for prices to be driven up or down by extenuating circumstances like the motivation or urgency of a seller or 'bidding wars'. But the appraised value is typically used as a guideline for lenders who don't want to loan a buyer more money than they could recover in case they had to put the property on the market again. It all comes down to this: An appraiser from Atlantic Appraisal Solutions, LLC will guarantee you get the most accurate property value, so you can make the most informed real estate decisions.

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