Drive-By’s in The New River Valley?


A company called is now providing homeowners the opportunity to have limited appraisals done on their home, giving an estimate of the home’s market value and providing the homeowner with a copy.  With that copy, the homeowner can then apply for things like a home equity loan, or a refinanced mortgage.

With most appraisals, both the inside AND the outside of the home will be inspected by the appraiser, and comparable sales added to the documentation, adjusted for features and quality.‘s service offers limited appraisals, with only an outside visual inspection being completed. 

I’m not certain that the service is available in our area.  When I plugged in my home address and asked for more information, I kept getting error messages, but my childhood home in Virginia Beach was found.  The price for that appraisal would have come to $330 if I had ordered, which is a little higher than if you had called a local company like Lucas Real Estate Appraisals here in Blacksburg.  The process was very easy, but I have some reservations … Eppraisal’s service is very similar to Zillow’s.  While Zillow provides an estimate of market value – which is usually very low – Eppraisal offers a low, middle and high value which MAY be a little more accurate.  They compile information from public records, courthouse filings and the like, and then provide a range of pricing based on that information (and likely other proprietary algorithms).  But as much as I love gadgets and technology and use them everyday as much as I can, I still don’t think we can replace the human element that an appraiser provides.  An algorithm can’t account for the new retail development down the street that is driving prices higher in the last month, or the announcement that a major corporation is bringing thousands of jobs to a particular area and suddenly housing in a certain price range is hot again.  Those are not factors that a database can easily adjust for, so take their service with a grain of salt.


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