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What Are the Parts of an Appraisal?

A home purchase can be the largest financial decision some may ever make. It doesn't matter if a primary residence, a seasonal vacation property or a rental fixer upper, the purchase of real property is a complex transaction that requires multiple people working in concert to see it through.

Most people are familiar with the parties taking part in the transaction. The most familiar entity in the exchange is the real estate agent. Next, the lender provides the money needed to bankroll the exchange. And ensuring all details of the transaction are completed and that a clear title passes to the buyer from the seller is the title company.

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 makes 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 could expect to pay — or a seller receive — for a property, where both buyer and seller are informed parties. A licensed, certified, professional appraiser from Appraisal First, Inc. will ensure, you as an interested party, are informed.

Inspecting the subject property

To ascertain an accurate status of the property, it's our duty to first perform a thorough inspection. We must see aspects of the property first hand, such as the number of bedrooms and bathrooms, the location, living areas, etc, to ensure they indeed are present and are in the condition a reasonable person would expect them to be. To make sure the stated square footage has not been misrepresented and describe the layout of the home, the inspection often requires creating a sketch of the floorplan. Most importantly, the appraiser looks for any obvious features - or defects - that would have an impact on the value of the house.

Back at the office, we use two or three approaches to determining the value of the property: a paired sales analysis, a replacement cost calculation, and an income approach when rental properties are prevalent.

Cost Approach

This is where the appraiser uses information on local construction costs, the cost of labor and other factors to determine how much it would cost to build a property similar to the one being appraised. This estimate commonly sets the upper limit on what a property would sell for. It's also the least used method.

Sales Comparison

Appraisers are intimately familiar with the subdivisions in which they work. They innately understand the value of certain features to the people of that area. Then, the appraiser researches recent transactions in close proximity to the subject and finds properties which are 'comparable' to the subject being appraised. 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.

  • For example, if the comparable property has an extra half bath that the subject doesn't, the appraiser may deduct the value of that half bath 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 an amount to the comparable property.

An opinion of what the subject could sell for can only be determined once all differences between the comps and the subject have been evaluated. At Appraisal First, Inc., we are an authority in knowing the value of real estate features in Springfield and Greene County neighborhoods. The sales comparison approach to value is usually awarded the most importance when an appraisal is for a home purchase.

Valuation Using the Income Approach

A third way of valuing approach to value is sometimes used when a neighborhood has a measurable number of renter occupied properties. In this case, the amount of revenue the real estate produces is factored in with other rents in the area for comparable properties to determine the current value.

The Bottom Line

Combining information from all approaches, the appraiser is then ready to state an estimated market value for the property in question. It is important to note that while this amount is probably the best indication of what a house is worth, it probably will not be the price at which the property closes. Depending on the specific situations of the buyer or seller, their level of urgency or a buyer's desire for that exact property, the closing price of a home can always be driven 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 the event they had to sell the property again. Here's what it all boils down to, an appraiser from Appraisal First, Inc. will help you attain the most accurate property value, so you can make profitable real estate decisions.