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Long Island's Leading Residential Appraisal Company: An Interview with Lauritano Appraisal Services

By Kristen Bosse

Please describe your company and some of the services you provide.

Lauritano Appraisal Services is one of the leading residential firms on Long Island with offices in Babylon as well as Manhattan. We have been strictly a residential appraisal company for the past 28 years. We specialize in all types of properties including, single family homes, 2-4 family residences, condominiums and cooperative units. Our experience and knowledge is relied upon by most national and regional banking institutions as well as local credit unions, mortgage banking companies and national appraisal management companies (AMC).

How did you get into this line of work:

I personally started working in the residential appraisal field with my father, Eugene Lauritano in 1985. It was a small appraisal office with just 3 appraisers. This required all of us to appraise every type of residential property in every area of our geographic coverage at the time (i.e. Long Island and the 5 boroughs). Certainly a wonderful training ground to understand each market area and township. I took ownership of the company in 1992 and since have grown to become one of the largest residential real estate appraisal firms in the region, completing over 200,000 appraisals in the past 20 years.

How does your company compare to competition in your area:

Lauritano Appraisal Services has a reputation of professional credibility for delivering supported and justified compliant appraisal reports, diligently, for our clients without the influence of outside sources (i.e. brokers, loan officers). We pride ourselves on presenting accurate and factual data within our reports which lead to an opinion of market value that can be relied upon by the client. Our long-term reputation of credibility and experience stems from a combination of efficient customer service and a state-of-the-art quality control system. This kind of professionalism enables Lauritano Appraisal Services to be a true leader in the New York residential real estate appraisal market. In addition, we were the first company to have a web-based platform, which remains one of the few companies that has a complete customer service department as well as a quality assurance department to assure the delivery of an accurate report. For this reason we have been recognized by Long Island Business News as the #1 residential appraisal firm for the past 12 consecutive years.

What is the process for establishing an asking price for listing a home:

Developing an asking price of a home is a process that starts with an understanding of the motivation of the seller. Do they expect the home to be sold within 30 days or 120 days? The more motivated they are to sell the home, the lower the asking price will be within an acceptable range. To develop the range of value for the asking price it is imperative that the appraiser completely understand the specific market of which the home is located. They need to understand the trend in the market area in terms of decreasing, increasing or stable values, and the listing competition as it currently exists. In a declining market it is critical to price a home within a market such that the price of the home does not "chase" the market down. The key to a successful asking price is to price a home ahead of its market. As a result, the selling experience for the owner will be positive. Therefore, it is our job as appraisers to properly evaluate the conditions of the market and convey that to the seller. The combination of the current market status with their motivation will give a good guideline in determining a proper asking price for the home. All sellers have a pre conceived notion as to what their house is worth and rarely does our conclusion match their expectations. Typically, when the final opinion of market value is presented properly, the seller will understand how we reached our conclusion and utilize the results for a successful sale of their home.

Is it required to hire an appraiser before listing a home on the market:

You certainly do not need to hire an appraiser to determine an asking price for your home. Most realtors in your market will provide a comparative market analysis (CMA) on your home for free. This is not an appraisal. It is a market analysis completed by an individual who may have a vested interest in the results and is not a licensed appraiser. The results may benefit them by getting the listing and earning a commission on the sale of the home. This is not considered an independent third party analysis or appraisal. An independent appraiser charges a fee to complete an accurate analysis of your home and the market to determine the opinion of market value of your home without having a vested interest in the outcome of the appraisal. We paint a true picture of the market, the current trends, and develop an opinion of market value that is unbiased and properly supported by the best comparable sales and listings in the defined market area.

What sort of qualities should a homeowner look for in a qualified appraiser:

A homeowner should always make sure the appraiser they are hiring be certified in the state of NY as an independent residential appraiser. This can be verified through the licensing department at NYS division of licensing services website. Also, ask the appraiser before they are hired how many years of experience do they have in the market for which the home is located. The appraiser should have extensive working experience in the local market so that they can properly conclude an opinion of market value. An experienced certified appraiser with current working knowledge of the local market is the best resource for determining not only an opinion of market value but also a credible asking price for a home to be sold.

Remaining unbiased:

One of our main policies is that our appraisers remain unbiased and follow the rules and regulations of the Uniform Standards of Professional Appraisal Practice (USPAP). We ensure an impartial opinion of value through two channels, a four tiered quality control system and a diligent customer service group. The appraiser's report is reviewed by the Principal of the company and by qualified professionals in the field. Market trends are studied on a daily basis to ensure proper reporting. In addition, the form itself is double-checked as well as the comparable sales grid and validity of the information provided. Moreover, the appraiser provides photographs within the report which are utilized as part of the review process. This coupled with communication that the customer service team provides, creates an unparalleled customer experience for all parties involved. Our customer service group is a "buffer" zone between the appraiser and the lender/client to assure complete independence. In addition to this type of checks and balances system, we have a level of trust and professionalism with our experienced appraiser staff, many of which have been with our firm for an average of 15 years. This tried and true system has supported us in the quest to move forward and enhance our all important professional reputation in the residential real estate appraisal market.

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Kristen has written impressive content including press releases and feature stories...

Phone: (203) 913-0483

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