The Madison & Park Residential Appraisal Blog

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Appraising in SCARSDALE, Westchester County

by David Lister | September 29, 2022

Scarsdale is village in lower Westchester County. The population is approximately 18,000. It was founded in 1788. There is a large variety of homes throughout Scarsdale. Most of the homes are completely custom built in the early 1900s and in the last 15 years. Many of the older homes have been scraped to make way for larger, newer homes.



Photo by NY Times

Appraising in New Rochelle, Westchester County

by David Lister | September 29, 2022

New Rochelle is located in lower Westchester County. It is a city of roughly 80,000 people. It was started in 1688, over 300 years ago.

There is a large variety of housing in New Rochelle including single family homes, 2-4 family homes, multi-family apartments and condos/coops, and a variety of commercial interests mixed throughout the city. It is mostly suburban. The single-family homes were mostly built in the early to mid-1900s with varying architectural style. The northern portion of New Rochelle above Hutchinson River Parkway has more split-level homes built in the mid-1900s.


remodeled kitchen

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Is it worth it for me to add a remodeled kitchen or should I add a bedroom?

by David Lister | September 12, 2019

When appraising homes, I am asked all the time about hypothetical improvements to the home. For instance, “is it worth it for me to add a remodeled kitchen or should I add a bedroom?” Most of the time, I am not there in a consulting roll, so I cannot offer advice on what to do with their home to add the most value. I am there to appraise the home for a different reason. Still, I think they are all great questions. What does add the most value to a home versus the cost to do the project? There have been numerous studies and articles written on the topic. 


basement square footage appraisal

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Is Basement Square footage Counted During Appraisal?

by David Lister | July 31, 2019

As an appraiser, I am constantly asked, “is basement square footage counted” or “is part of the total square footage”. When doing a residential appraisal on a single-family home, basements are excluded from GLA or Gross Living Area in most markets. This is the total square footage that is completely above grade on all four sides. However, the basements do add value and are “counted” and adjusted for separately. You just won’t see them in the GLA. There is a separate section. There are several exceptions. Bi-level, raised ranches, and split levels have lower levels that are garden style sometimes. In order for a good comparison, the lower level is typically included in the GLA even though it may not be completely above grade on all four sides.


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by David Lister | July 16, 2019

Valuing Timeshares Requires Special Care: The Appraisal Journal

Special care must be taken to understand the timeshare interest and the competitive market in which that interest would sell, according to an article published this week in The Appraisal Journal that explores key issues facing appraisers when valuing timeshares.

The Appraisal Journal is the quarterly technical and academic publication of the Appraisal Institute, the nation’s largest professional association of real estate appraisers. The materials presented in the publication represent the opinions and views of the authors and not necessarily those of the Appraisal Institute.

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Appraisal Institute Urges Congress to Address Valuation Issues

The president of the Appraisal Institute, the nation’s largest professional association of real estate appraisers, encouraged Congress to act on valuation topics during today’s hearing on Capitol Hill.

Stephen S. Wagner, MAI, SRA, AI-GRS, told the House Financial Services Committee’s Housing, Community Development and Insurance Subcommittee that the Appraisal Institute supports passage of H.R. 2852, which would allow licensed appraisers to perform appraisals for Federal Housing Administration loans.

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FHA Delays Rule Requiring Digital Signatures On Appraisals

The Federal Housing Administration (FHA) is delaying a rule that would require appraisals uploaded to its electronic platform to be digitally signed.

The FHA had previously announced that XML Digital Signatures will be required on all appraisals uploaded to its Electronic Appraisal Delivery (EAD) System. XML is a method of digital authentication that is secure, flexible and fairly ubiquitous; it is already in use on many digital appraisals submitted to the FHA.

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Appraisal Reform Act of 2019 Would Impact TRID

A&B Abstract:
If enacted, the recently introduced Appraisal Reform Act of 2019 would amend RESPA to require the disclosure of the appraisal management fee separate from the appraisal fee on the loan estimate (LE) and closing disclosure (CD). This could impose an additional burden on lenders and appraisal management companies (AMCs).

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Residential Real Estate Appraisal in Westchester County, NY

by David Lister | July 09, 2019

Westchester County is one of the primary places I appraise residential real estate. It sits just north of the Bronx of New York City and is primarily suburban areas.

The county has approximately 980,000 people over 450 square miles. It is made up of dozens of villages, towns, and cities. Each has its own unique style, homes, attractions, and school district. The school districts are one of the primary drivers of value in Westchester. When appraising here, I am very careful to stay within the school district for comparables. Comparing homes across school districts can lead to inaccurate results.


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To Pool or not to Pool?

by David Lister | June 07, 2019

I told my wife when we were first married, “I am never buying a house with a pool.” That pretty much sealed the deal. I was going to end up with a house with a pool and ten years later, we bought a house with a pool. We loved the house and the pool happened to come with it.

I have people ask me all the time, “Do pools add value to a home?” or “Should I put in a pool?” Answer is: “depends”, as it does many times in the appraisal world.


home appraisal

What Is An Appraisal?

by David Lister | June 01, 2019

An appraisal is an opinion of value from a licensed or certified appraiser. The Appraisal Institute states on their website:

An appraisal is a professional appraiser’s opinion of value. The preparation of an appraisal involves research into appropriate market areas; the assembly and analysis of information pertinent to a property; and the knowledge, experience, and professional judgment of the appraiser. Appraisals may be required for any type of property, including single-family homes, apartment buildings and condominiums, office buildings, shopping centers, industrial sites, and farms. The reasons for performing a real property appraisal are just as varied. They are usually required whenever real property is sold, mortgaged, taxed, insured, or developed.


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by David Lister | Mar 08, 2019

Another question I always get asked is “Should I get an appraisal before I make an offer to purchase a home?”

The majority of buyers in the US market get a mortgage when they are purchasing the home and in most of these cases an appraisal is ordered by the bank to ensure the home’s value is at least as much as the buyer is offering to pay. The bank wants to make sure their investment is secure. The appraiser is hired by the bank and the buyer is provided a copy. However, some appraisers appraise a home at the contract price or it greatly influences the appraisal.


home appraisal


by David Lister | Mar 07, 2019

I always get asked the question, “What do I need to do before I have an appraisal done?” The truth is, you don’t need to do anything, BUT it helps to do a few things so that the process is smooth and you maximize the value of your home.

Banks do not want any safety or health hazards in the home. This throws up a red flag and typically will have the appraiser come back to inspect the problem area. It is best to address these items before. Some of the common items I see that could be considered a safety hazard.


Madison & Park Appraisal

Madison & Park Appraisal is a residential appraisal firm in New York. We do residential appraisals of single family homes, coops, condos, 2-4 unit investment properties, and land. We have performed over 10,000 appraisals over the course of 15 years.



New Rochelle Office
30 Mildred Pkwy.
New Rochelle, NY 10804

Mobile Phone: (914) 413-3800