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Tips For Increasing Your Appraisal Value: An Interview with Shane McInerney of Domus Appraisals

By Shane McInerney

Tell us a little bit about your company and its foundation.

Domus Appraisals is a full service valuation company that has been providing real estate property appraisals since 1971. The company was originated in Westchester County, New York and currently has appraisers that service the entire state of Rhode Island, Southeastern Massachusetts, and portions of Connecticut and New York states including the boroughs of New York City and all proximate suburban areas.

What are some of the services your company provides?

At Domus Appraisals, we are licensed and experienced in valuing residential and commercial properties of all sizes, shapes and uses. Typically, we are engaged by clients to determine a current or retro opinion of market value of a property. This opinion of value can be used for, but is not limited to; listing price points, lending purposes, insurance claims, tax grievances, portfolio valuations, estate settlements, divorce or separation agreements, employee relocations, market research, and rental analysis.

As an appraiser, what are the big influential areas you look to when deciding a home's worth?

Size, condition, location, highest and best use and current market conditions are the primary factors to look at when attempting to determine a residential property's value. However, every market varies and typical buyer reactions tend to dictate how specific salient features of a property contribute or detract from an individual property's value.

How important are the little things to you (e.g. trimming of the lawn, having a clean house) when it comes to determining the value of a home?

During the valuation process, we as appraisers, have to determine what features of a property are considered to be value affecting and which are not. We are trained to disregard typical clutter during the development of an appraisal. While having a well manicured lawn and a clean, tidy home could be influential to prospective buyers; these items are considered to contribute more to curb appeal than to value. With that being said, it should be noted that an appraiser's first impression of a property could sway the determination of condition. A neat, clean home shows a certain level of maintenance and upkeep in comparison to a property that is unkempt, messy and has an overgrown lawn.

Do you have any advice for someone who is looking to persuade you, as a home appraiser, that their house is actually worth more than it may appear?

A seasoned and knowledgeable appraiser will conduct his/her due diligence to a level that is necessary to value a property accordingly. Trying to persuade an appraiser that your home is worth more than it may appear is going to be less effective than presenting the appraiser with some information about the property, or the market area, that may not be readily available during typical research or the onsite inspection. Preparing a list of recent repairs, improvements and modernizations done to the property is not only helpful but may disclose items that are beneficial to the opinion of value and that may not be noted during the onsite inspection.

How much research about the neighborhood do you do prior to the home appraisal?

I do minimal neighborhood research prior to inspecting a property that is the subject of an appraisal, unless I am inspecting a property that is located in an area that I am not familiar with. Location and neighborhood appeal are critically important to the development of an appraisal report and the value of a property, but conducting neighborhood research is typically completed later in the appraisal process and could be counterproductive if completed prior to the onsite inspection.

How important is the neighborhood when it comes to valuing a home?

We have all heard the old realtor mantra: location, location, location. This saying reiterates how important the location of a property is when it comes to valuing a home and still holds true in today's real estate markets. Identical homes can be located in different neighborhoods and be on completely different ends of the value range. Some things to consider when assessing the neighborhood are the subject property's conformity to the majority of the surrounding properties in the area, availability of local conveniences, recreation and employment, school districts and exterior obsolescence such as exposure to overheard traffic due to the close proximity to an airport.

Where are some areas that if the homeowner just took some time to fix up it would drastically improve their home value? (e.g. fresh paint, curb appeal, garage maintenance)

To drastically improve a homes value would usually necessitate drastic measures. In most cases, there are no quick fixes that will drastically improve a home's value. If there were, every seller would do them prior to listing a property on the open market. If you would like to increase the value of your property, the first step would be to conduct some market research and see what other homes in your area with similar size, condition and style have recently sold for. Next, find some properties with similar size, and style that have sold for a higher amount and try to determine what the differences are. Cosmetic variances are usually the salient features that have the most impact in varying property values of similar homes in an area. Some improvements that homeowners typically conduct to increase a homes value are updated or remodeled kitchens and bathrooms, updated mechanical systems with high efficiency, freshly painted interiors and/or exteriors and finishing unfinished portions in basements or attics.

What is the best way for people to get in contact with you or your company?

The contacts for Domus Appraisals are:

Rhode Island: (401) 272-2660 www.RIPropertyAppraisers.com
NY, CT, MA: (914) 969-2890 www.DomusAppraisals.com
To contact me directly through email - shane@domusappraisals.com

Shane McInerney (CREA) is an FHA approved certified residential appraiser that is centrally located in the State of Rhode Island. He has been appraising residential properties within the state since 2006.

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About The Author

Shane is one of Domus Appraisals Certified Residential Appraisers. His services can...

Phone: (401) 952-1229

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