Get The Property Appraised


When selling unwanted real estate, getting an appraisal is an important step that shouldn’t be skipped. An appraisal gives you a professional opinion of the property’s market value, which helps guide your asking price. Setting an accurate price that reflects the property’s true value is crucial for attracting qualified buyers.

An appraisal can also uncover issues or defects that may impact the property’s value. Knowing this information allows you to make any necessary repairs or adjustments to maximize the sale price. Additionally, appraisals provide supporting documentation and concrete figures when negotiating offers with potential buyers. Having objective evidence of the property’s worth strengthens your position during these discussions.

Overall, an appraisal brings clarity, validation, and confidence to the selling process. The small upfront investment can end up saving you time, money, and hassle in the long run. An appraisal sets realistic expectations, minimizes pricing errors, and facilitates a smoother sale. When looking to offload unwanted real estate, getting professional valuation through an appraisal is strongly advised. To be fully prepared, also check out the following posts: Sell Any Unwanted Property in Richmond, including Research the Market, Determine Why You Want to Sell Unwanted Property, Get The Property Appraised, and Staging the Property to Sell.

Determine If You Need An Appraisal

When selling real estate, especially high-value properties, getting an appraisal is usually recommended even if not legally required. An appraisal gives you an independent, professional opinion of the property’s market value so you can confidently list it at a fair price.

In certain situations, lenders or government agencies may require an appraisal:

  • If you are seeking financing, the lender will likely require an appraisal to ensure the property value adequately covers the loan amount.
  • If selling a property as part of a divorce settlement or estate resolution, an appraisal may be mandated to establish an equitable value.
  • Properties with certain tax benefits, like conservation easements, typically need an appraisal for the tax deductions.
  • Government agencies like the IRS may require appraisals for tax purposes in donations, inheritance, capital gains, etc.

Even if not legally obligated, getting an appraisal is highly recommended when selling any valuable property or unique real estate like large acreages, commercial buildings, high-end homes, historical properties, etc. An appraisal protects against under-pricing and provides third-party validation of the home’s worth.

Types of Appraisals

There are a few main types of real estate appraisals to be aware of when selling unwanted property:

Drive-By Appraisal

A drive-by appraisal involves the appraiser visually inspecting the exterior of the property from the street, but not going inside. This is the quickest and least expensive type of appraisal, but also provides the least amount of detail. Drive-by appraisals are usually done for lending purposes when a quick valuation is needed.

Desktop Appraisal

For a desktop appraisal, the appraiser will not physically visit the property. They rely on public records, previous inspection reports, and photos of the property provided by the owner to determine the value. This can save on appraisal fees but does not provide as accurate of a valuation as an in-person inspection.

Full Appraisal

A full appraisal is the most thorough option, with the appraiser doing an on-site walkthrough of the interior and exterior of the property. They will measure rooms, take photos, note any repairs needed, and survey the lot size. This provides the most detailed valuation and is required for many real estate transactions, but costs more than other appraisal types. Full appraisals take the most time to complete but give sellers the best understanding of their property’s true market value.

Choosing an Appraiser

When selling unwanted real estate, choosing the right appraiser is a critical step. Here are some tips for finding a qualified, unbiased appraiser:

  • Ask for referrals from real estate agents, attorneys, CPAs, or mortgage brokers you trust. They likely have experience working with competent appraisers.
  • Look for an appraiser who is state-licensed or state-certified. This helps ensure they have met education and experience requirements.
  • Find an appraiser who specializes in the type of property you’re selling. For example, commercial versus residential.
  • Select an appraiser who has experience appraising similar properties in your local market. Familiarity with the area is key.
  • Verify the appraiser carries errors and omissions insurance for protection.
  • Avoid appraisers who focus on maximizing value or have a vested interest in the sale. This could lead to an inflated appraisal.
  • Ask candidates detailed questions about their appraisal methods, comparables, and experience. Get a sense of their approach.
  • Request 3-5 sample appraisal reports from the appraiser to evaluate their quality and thoroughness.
  • Confirm the appraiser follows the Uniform Standards of Professional Appraisal Practice (USPAP). This ensures ethical, unbiased work.
  • Get multiple appraisal bids and compare. Be wary of an appraisal that seems too high or low compared to others.

Choosing an experienced, ethical appraiser you feel comfortable with is time well spent before selling unwanted property. Their valuation will impact the sale price and your bottom line.

Appraisal Process

When you hire an appraiser, here’s what typically happens during the appraisal process:

  • The appraiser will first do research on your property to find similar homes that have recently sold in your area. They will look at the sale prices, square footage, number of bedrooms/bathrooms, lot size, age of home, and any renovations.
  • Next, the appraiser will conduct a physical inspection of your property. They will take photos and make notes of the home’s condition, layout, improvements, and features. The appraiser will measure your home and inspect the interior and exterior.
  • After the inspection, the appraiser will analyze the data and information gathered. They will make adjustments between your home and the comparable properties found to account for differences. This is how they arrive at an estimated market value for your property.
  • The appraiser will put together a report that details their research, inspection findings, valuation calculations, and final opinion of value. You will receive a copy of this detailed appraisal report.
  • The entire appraisal process usually takes 1-2 weeks from start to finish. Appraisers inspect the interior and exterior, take measurements, research comparables, run calculations, and compile the professional report.

So in summary, an appraisal involves research, a site inspection, data analysis, value adjustments, and a complete report. This gives you an expert opinion on your home’s current market value for selling purposes.

Appraisal Methods

There are three main appraisal methods that professional appraisers use:

Sales Comparison Approach

The sales comparison approach compares the property being appraised to recent sales of similar properties. The appraiser analyzes closed sales of comparable properties, making adjustments for differences between the subject property and the comparables. This provides a good indication of market value for the property.

Cost Approach

The cost approach calculates the value by determining the current cost to rebuild the property from scratch. The appraiser will estimate the value of the land, add the cost of construction, then subtract depreciation to arrive at a final value. This method works well for new construction.

Income Capitalization Approach

The income capitalization approach analyzes the property’s income-producing potential. The appraiser determines the property’s net operating income, then divides it by a capitalization rate to estimate the property’s value. This method works best for income-producing properties like apartments or commercial buildings.

The appraiser may use one or more of these methods and reconcile the values to determine the final opinion of value. The approach depends on the type of property, market conditions, and quality of data available. A residential appraisal typically relies heavily on the sales comparison approach.

Appraisal Report

The appraisal report is the final document that the appraiser provides after completing the appraisal process. This report contains detailed information about the property, the methods used to determine the value, and the appraiser’s final opinion of value.

Here are some key things to expect in an appraisal report:

  • Property Description: This section provides details about the property’s location, neighborhood, lot size, home size, number of bedrooms/bathrooms, construction materials, condition, amenities, etc.
  • Sales Comparison Approach: The appraiser will analyze recent sales of comparable properties and make adjustments for differences compared to the subject property. This approach looks at what similar properties have sold for.
  • Cost Approach: This method calculates the current cost to rebuild the home from scratch. The land value is added to determine the total value. This approach is helpful for new construction.
  • Income Approach: For rental properties, the appraiser estimates the property’s income potential and operating expenses to calculate a value. This approach examines the property’s ability to generate income.
  • Reconciliation: The appraiser reconciles the values determined by the different approaches and provides a final opinion of value with their rationale.
  • Photos: Photos of the subject property and comparable sales are included.
  • Certification: The appraiser certifies that they have no interest in the property and that the report was prepared according to industry standards.

Reviewing the appraisal report provides full transparency into how the appraiser determined the property’s value. Sellers can use this information to establish a competitive asking price.

Appraisal Costs

The cost of an appraisal can vary significantly depending on the type of property, its value, and complexity. Here are some typical costs:

  • Residential appraisal – For a single-family home, expect to pay $300-$500 for a standard appraisal. High-end homes over $1 million may cost $500-$1,000+.
  • Commercial appraisal – For small commercial properties like retail stores or office spaces, fees often start around $2,000. Larger properties like apartment buildings, hotels, or industrial sites can cost $3,000-$10,000+.
  • Vacant land appraisal – Rural land is cheaper at $300-$500, while land for development in urban areas runs $1,000-$5,000.
  • Specialty appraisals – Unusual properties like farms, golf courses, marinas, etc. typically cost more given their complexity. Fees start around $3,000.
  • Rush appraisals – Expect to pay a premium for expedited 7-10 day turnaround, often 25-50% higher fees.
  • Reappraisals – If contesting an appraisal, reappraisals may offer a small discount but still cost $200+ minimum.

The specific appraisal fee will depend on your property type, size, location, current market conditions, and the appraiser’s experience level. Be sure to get quotes from 2-3 appraisers before selecting one. The extra cost for a quality appraisal is well worth it when selling high-value real estate.

Using the Appraisal

The appraised value of your property will be a key factor as you determine your listing price and negotiate offers with potential buyers. The appraisal provides an independent, professional opinion of the property’s market value that both you and potential buyers can rely on during negotiations.

If the appraisal comes in lower than you expected, don’t immediately slash your listing price. The appraisal provides helpful information, but does not dictate what a buyer may be willing to pay. Price your property based on comparable active listings and recently sold homes in your area. You may be able to negotiate a higher sale price than the appraisal.

If the appraisal is higher than your initial asking price, consider increasing the listing price. Reference the appraisal in marketing materials to justify the higher price. During negotiations, point to the appraisal as evidence for why you cannot accept offers below a certain threshold.

Regardless of whether the appraisal is higher or lower than expected, use it to support your pricing and negotiation strategies. Being able to reference the objective valuation will strengthen your position. But remember that the appraisal does not necessarily set strict limits on what a buyer will pay. Use it as an influential data point alongside other factors as you establish listing price and evaluate offers.


Getting an appraisal when selling unwanted real estate is highly recommended for several key reasons.

First, an appraisal gives you a professional estimate of the property’s market value. This allows you to price the property competitively and appropriately for your local real estate market. Without an appraisal, you risk overpricing or underpricing the property, which can lead to it sitting on the market for longer.

Additionally, an appraisal is often required by lending institutions if the buyer needs financing. By having an appraisal done upfront, you avoid potential delays or issues later in the transaction process that could derail a sale.

Appraisals also give buyers confidence that the asking price is justified and in line with the property’s worth. This makes buyers more comfortable putting in an offer at or near your asking price. If you forgo the appraisal, buyers may be wary and lowball offers.

Finally, a detailed appraisal can uncover issues or needed repairs you may not be aware of as the seller. This allows you to make fixes ahead of listing the property, so it shows better and gets maximum value. Discovering problems later on can jeopardize deals.

In summary, appraisals are a small upfront investment that can pay dividends by making the sale process smoother, faster, and more lucrative when selling unwanted real estate. Knowing the property’s true market value provides confidence and assurance for both you and potential buyers. When looking to sell, reach out to us as top Home Buyers of Richmond, VA.

Give Us a Call Today at (804) 420-8515

RVAHomeBuyers 2023 v1
Get More Real Estate Market Info... Subscribe Below!

Learn more about us and find other resources on selling your house below. Like us, follow us, connect!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Call Us!
(804) 420-8515