Delgado Real Estate, Inc. started in 2003 when Al Delgado decided to leave the comfortable government job as a Real Estate Appraiser with Prince William County and take the chance of doing fee appraisals for private clients full time. We started with about five clients; all mortgage lending companies. We covered Spotsylvania County, VA and the seven additional counties that bordered it. These clients kept us busy enough to know that we made the right choice. We continued marketing to not just mortgage companies, but also to appraisal management companies (AMC’s).
By 2005 we had over 20 clients, one full time appraiser, two support staff members (Mom and wife) and two trainees (Dad and a widow from church). We began experimenting with mobile computer technology and used tablets and laser measuring tools for field work. We learned valuable lessons: paper and pencil are the fastest and most reliable field recording tools available. Since the field data was stored in digital format only, any number of technical issues had the potential of erasing the field data, and Murphy’s Law prevailed multiple times. Touch screens don’t work in the rain and things break when they get slammed in the door or left on the roof. Paper and pencil were the clear winners. We learned that technology is great when it works but terrible when it does not. We did see the benefits of laser measurers over tape measurers in most cases; It’s hard to see a tiny red dot on sunny days and my wife can’t hold it still to save her life, so today we continue using both.
When the economy took a downturn in 2008, we also took a hit, but we used this time to do extra marketing; adding geographical coverage areas, lowering fees, attaining additional appraisal education, and expanding our product line to include FHA work. We were kept afloat by the sheer number of foreclosures. After the Great Recession, we were better positioned to continue providing quality, timely and professional residential appraisals.
In 2015, we had over 50 clients and began to gradually raise our fees as demand grew. We noticed that appraisal fees had not increased for the past 30 years and it was time to catch up with the times. During this time Al earned the SRA designation by the Appraisal Institute and Rebecca became a trainee, we also moved to Orange, VA. We continued to expand our coverage areas, marketing to new clients and meeting the appraisal needs of our clients. Currently we have over 100 clients and cover over 20 counties. Rebecca became a Certified Residential Real Estate Appraiser and we hired Justin (son) as our Administrative Assistant. Appraisal demand has grown to levels we have never seen before.
We often receive compliments on how thorough our physical inspection of the property is. We make sure all adjustments on our reports have solid supporting data and that property characteristics for the subject and comparable properties are accurate and accounted for. This level of detail and scrutiny keeps our clients coming back for more. If there are questions that arise during our analysis, we get it answered and independently verified. Our quality control includes multiple checks for consistency and compliance. We routinely refer to professional appraisal publications when needed to either refresh our knowledge or learn something new. Real estate values and the factors that influence them are rarely unchanging, tastes change and it is human nature to adapt and change, it is our job as residential real estate appraisers to read how these changes affect value and provide credible and reliable appraisal reports.