Big corporations like ZillowTM and others have devised sophisticated algorithms which can provide a reasonably close estimate for many homes' values, according to Zillow's website claims. However, the same website actually puts it well - "The Zestimate is not an appraisal and can’t be used in place of an appraisal. It is a computer-generated estimate of the value of a home today, given the available data." Their core mission is persuading people to make a move - buying or selling, or preferably both. Providing credible value opinions for folks who may have other reasons for needing an expert opinion is not their business. Certainly, these companies’ processes - the Proprietary Formulas - don't involve Licensed or Certified Appraisers performing the necessary steps that are required, by law, of human appraisers.

If your home has notable complexities or nuances, such as being an older home, recent remodeling, proximity to a busy street, unique features like a converted garage or golf course views, a guest house or solar panels, located in a designated historic district, or if the county records' figure for livable area is inaccurate - the list of potential pitfalls is long - then you need a trained and experienced human being to review the case. It takes years to become a good appraiser, and the stakes are just too high to give the final word to Zillow's Proprietary Formula.

Darin Rogers is Certified Real Estate Appraiser #22221 on the Arizona Department of Financial Institution's appraiser registry, with a freshly-renewed license in place through August, 2025 (certifications must be renewed every two years; the required Continuing Education was recently completed). He is also listed on the FHA roster, and is a preferred appraiser for numerous major lenders and Appraisal Management Companies. References are available upon request.

Darin was first licensed in 2005 and certified in 2011. Landsman Appraisal LLC was founded in 2009 at the height of a severe housing crisis, and has been in continuous operation ever since. Darin has completed thousands of appraisals and hundreds of hours of appraisal qualifying and continuing education over the past 20 years.

Residential appraisers typically rely most on the aptly-named Sales Comparison Approach. We search for the most recent, similar, and nearby sales and listings available, and then make adjustments for significant differences (things like house size, parcel size, pool, condition and updating, bedroom/bathroom count, just to name a few) - but only if genuine market reaction to the item is perceived to exist. This is all accompanied by an explanation about the quality and quantity of available comparable sales, whether and why it was necessary to exceed typical guidelines regarding distance or date of sale, and the reasoning behind the decisions made. The reports are written in a highly readable first-person voice, and contain other property- and subdivision-specific information which is likely be of interest to the client.
We would need to assess the complexity of the situation before giving you a firm quote. However, our stated rate for a full appraisal for a non-complex property within our service area is $500. You'll find this to be quite competitive in the Phoenix market. Please give us a call to discuss specifics - we sometimes offer special seasonal pricing, and discounts for U.S. military veterans, police and fire professionals and other public servants, seniors, and others. If you have more than one property, we can negotiate a package deal. We also offer add-ons such as a Market Rent schedule. As for fees, what we quote is what you pay. There are no taxes or other fees of any kind added to our appraisal fee, even if the project ends up being more involved than we anticipated. We'll stand by our quote.
Sadly, I have seen firsthand many examples of these "ugly houses" deals where investors offered quick cash to an owner who wasn't even really considering selling their home, but who was dazzled by the seemingly generous cash offer. Some sellers end up leaving tens or hundreds of thousands of dollars on the table. Consider a hypothetical example based on a recent work experience, which involves a local seller settling for approximately $175,000 less than as-is market value, thinking that because the house needed some cosmetic repairs and didn't show well, it couldn't be worth that much. But then the house was re-sold, on MLS, for a much higher price than the previous long-time owners had received, less than 60 days later - without any meaningful work having been done to it! This occurred because the long-time owners of the property simply didn't know what it was really worth; they hadn't checked in for awhile, as they hadn't been planning to go anywhere. It turns out, the land alone was worth more than what they received. They had wrongly assumed the investors would give them a fair shake, or perhaps they had a notion of market value based on a bona fide neighborhood sale - which occurred years ago, though it seemed more recent. 
Prices have increased dramatically in recent years, so I strongly recommend that you get an appraisal before you sign over the title for cash. If you do get an appraisal, then you'll have a credible value opinion from a qualified professional to use as leverage in negotiations, something tangible you can point to. Because if the property hasn't been listed on MLS or elsewhere, that means there's been little or no market exposure, and no competition. Without competition, you're open to really bad outcomes. If you decide not to use Landsman Appraisal, please get an appraisal from some other licensed or certified appraiser. Don't skip this step, or it could cost you real money, many times the price of an appraisal. 
Most popular is the Full Appraisal. These are similar to what would be used for a mortgage loan (purchase or refinance, where the lender typically selects the appraiser). They are also the most thorough choice for other types of "asset valuation" assignments. This type of assignment involves an on-site visit with exterior measurements, interior and exterior photographs, and general observations about building materials, finishes and fixtures, updating and the like. Generally a Full Appraisal will yield results which are both most reliable and most satisfying. 

An Exterior-Only Appraisal is more convenient for the client, since no appointment or interior inspection is needed. Based on public records and other sources, the appraiser makes so-called Extraordinary Assumptions about the size and condition of the property. These are less expensive and offer quicker turnaround, but the scope of inspection may be considered insufficient by third parties, if there are any legal considerations involved.

Finally, Restricted Use appraisals can be those using a less intensive set of observation / reporting standards (while mindful of the Uniform Standards of Professional Appraisal Practice, aka USPAP). This category includes Desktop Appraisals, which can be done inexpensively and relatively quickly. As with Exterior-Only Appraisals, these are less expensive and offer quicker turnaround, but the scope of inspection may be considered insufficient for some clients.

We recommend getting in touch with us to personally discuss your options with Darin Rogers (602-435-8359, receives text messages).
A home inspection and an appraisal have different goals. An appraisal strives to give a reliable opinion of the property’s market value, past, present, or future. The property’s condition is considered, but it is not the main focus of the assignment. A home inspection, on the other hand, focuses ONLY on the property’s condition (without regard to value), and it is much more thorough and time-consuming, as far as time spent at the property itself. Appraisers spend much of their time "in the field," observing and photographing similar properties and driving the neighborhoods, or they are at their desks researching market trends and comparable property details, and of course completing the sometimes voluminous reports themselves.
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Arizona resident since 1973. Go Suns!