Comprehending Appraisals

A home purchase can be the most significant financial decision some of us might ever consider. It doesn't matter if where you raise your family, an additional vacation property or an investment, purchasing real property is a detailed transaction that requires multiple people working in concert to pull it all off.

The majority of the participants are quite familiar. The most recognizable face in the exchange is the real estate agent. Next, the mortgage company provides the financial capital required to bankroll the transaction. And the title company ensures that all areas of the exchange are completed and that a clear title transfers from the seller to the purchaser.

To learn more about appraising, click here to see a short video or call us today to talk about your specific property.

So, what party is responsible for making sure the value of the real estate is in line with the amount being paid? In comes the appraiser. We provide an unbiased estimate of what a buyer might expect to pay — or a seller receive — for a parcel of real estate, where both buyer and seller are informed parties. A licensed, certified, professional appraiser from ACME Appraisal will ensure, you as an interested party, are informed.

Appraisals start with the property inspection

To ascertain the true status of the property, it's our responsibility to first complete a thorough inspection. We must actually see aspects of the property, such as the number of bedrooms and bathrooms, the location, amenities, etc., to ensure they really are present and are in the condition a reasonable buyer would expect them to be. To ensure the stated square footage is accurate and describe the layout of the home, the inspection often includes creating a sketch of the floorplan. Most importantly, the appraiser looks for any obvious features - or defects - that would affect the value of the property.

Following the inspection, an appraiser uses two or three approaches to determining the value of the property: sales comparison and, in the case of a rental property, an income approach.

Cost Approach

This is where the appraiser analyzes information on local construction costs, labor rates and other elements to ascertain how much it would cost to construct a property nearly identical to the one being appraised. This value commonly sets the upper limit on what a property would sell for. The cost approach is also the least used method.

Sales Comparison

Appraisers can tell you a lot about the subdivisions in which they appraise. They thoroughly understand the value of certain features to the residents of that area. Then, the appraiser looks up recent transactions in close proximity to the subject and finds properties which are 'comparable' to the real estate in question. By assigning a dollar value to certain items such as fireplaces, room layout, appliance upgrades, extra bathrooms or bedrooms, or quality of construction, we add or subtract from each comparable's sales price so that they are more accurately in line with the features of subject property.

  • If, for example, the comparable property has a fireplace and the subject does not, the appraiser may subtract the value of a fireplace from the sales price of the comparable.
  • If the subject property has an extra half-bathroom and the comparable does not, the appraiser might add a certain amount to the comparable property.

After all differences have been accounted for, the appraiser reconciles the adjusted sales prices of all the comps and then derives an opinion of what the subject could sell for. When it comes to putting a value on features of homes in Bluffton and Allen, ACME Appraisal can't be beat. This approach to value is usually given the most weight when an appraisal is for a real estate sale.

Valuation Using the Income Approach

A third way of valuing real estate is sometimes applied when a neighborhood has a measurable number of rental properties. In this scenario, the amount of revenue the property generates is factored in with income produced by neighboring properties to give an indicator of the current value.

The Bottom Line

Examining the data from all applicable approaches, the appraiser is then ready to document an estimated market value for the property at hand. Note: While the appraised value is probably the most reliable indication of what a property is worth, it may not be the price at which the property closes. There are always mitigating factors such as the seller's desire to get out of the property, urgency or 'bidding wars' that may adjust an offer or listing price up or down. But the appraised value is typically employed as a guideline for lenders who don't want to loan a buyer more money than they could get back in case they had to put the property on the market again. The bottom line is, an appraiser from ACME Appraisal will help you attain the most fair and balanced property value, so you can make wise real estate decisions.