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What is an appraisal?

A home purchase can be the most important transaction some of us could ever consider. Whether it's a main residence, a second vacation home or an investment, purchasing real property is an involved financial 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.


It's likely you are familiar with the parties having a role in the transaction. The real estate agent is the most known person in the transaction. Next, the lender provides the money required to finance the deal. Ensuring all requirements of the transaction are completed and that a clear title passes to the buyer from the seller is the title company.

So who's responsible for making sure the value of the real estate is in line with the purchase price?   In comes the appraiser.   We provide an unbiased opinion of what a buyer might expect to pay - or a seller receive - for a property, where both buyer and seller are informed parties. A professional Virginia licensed appraiser from MANDERFIELD APPRAISAL GROUP will ensure you as an interested party are informed.

Inspecting the subject property

To ascertain the true status of the property, it's our responsibility to first complete a thorough inspection. We must physically view features, such as the number of bedrooms and bathrooms, the location, amenities, etc., to ensure they truly are present and are in the shape a reasonable buyer would expect them to be. The inspection often includes a sketch of the property, ensuring the square footage is accurate and illustrating the layout of the property. Most importantly, the appraiser looks for any obvious features - or defects - that would affect the value of the property.

Back at the office, we use two or three approaches when determining the value of real property: a paired sales analysis, a replacement cost calculation, and an income approach when rental properties are prevalent.

Cost Approach

Here, the appraiser gathers information on local construction costs, the cost of labor and other factors to figure out how much it would cost to replace the property being appraised. This value commonly sets the maximum on what a property would sell for. The cost approach is also the least used method.

Paired Sales Analysis

Appraisers get to know the subdivisions in which they work. We thoroughly understand the value of specific features to the homeowners of that area. Then, the appraiser looks up recent transactions in the vicinity and finds properties which are 'comparable' to the real estate being appraised. By assigning a dollar value to certain items such as remodeled rooms, types of flooring, energy efficient items, patios and porches, or additional storage space, we add or subtract from each comparable's sales price so that they are more accurately in line with the features of subject.

  • If, for example, the comparable property has an extra half bath that the subject doesn't, the appraiser may subtract the value of that half bath from the sales price of the comparable home.
  • If the subject property has an extra half-bathroom and the comparable does not, the appraiser might add an amount to the comparable property.
When it comes to putting a value on features of homes in Alexandria and Alexandria City, MANDERFIELD APPRAISAL GROUP is your local authority. This approach to value is commonly awarded the most weight when an appraisal is for a real estate sale.

Valuation Using the Income Approach

A third way of valuing a house is sometimes used when a neighborhood has a measurable number of rental properties. In this scenario, the amount of income the real estate generates is taken into consideration along with income produced by similar properties to give an indicator of the current value.

Coming Up With the Final Value

Analyzing the data from all applicable approaches, the appraiser is then ready to stipulate an estimated market value for the property in question. Note: While this amount is probably the best indication of what a house would sell for in an open market, it probably will not be the final sales price. Depending on the individual situations of the buyer or seller, their level of urgency or a buyer's desire for that exact property, the closing price of a home can always be driven up or down. Regardless, the appraised value is often used as a guideline for lenders who don't want to loan a buyer more money than they could recover in the event they had to sell the property again. At the end of the day: An appraiser from MANDERFIELD APPRAISAL GROUP will guarantee you get the most accurate property value, so you can make the most informed real estate decisions.