Decoding the Appraisal Process

A home purchase can be the largest transaction most of us could ever encounter. Whether it's a main residence, an additional vacation home or an investment, purchasing real property is a complex financial transaction that requires multiple people working in concert to pull it all off.

You're probably familiar with the parties taking part in the transaction. The real estate agent is the most recognizable face in the exchange. Then, the mortgage company provides the financial capital necessary to bankroll the transaction. And the title company ensures that all aspects of the exchange are completed and that the title is clear to transfer from the seller to the purchaser.

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So, what party is responsible for making sure the property is worth the amount being paid? This is where the appraiser comes in. We provide an unbiased estimate of what a buyer might expect to pay — or a seller receive — for a property, where both buyer and seller are informed parties. A licensed, certified, professional appraiser from Good Appraisal Services, Inc. will ensure, you as an interested party, are informed.

Inspecting the subject property

To determine an accurate status of the property, it's our responsibility to first complete a thorough inspection. We must see features first hand, such as the number of bedrooms and bathrooms, the location, amenities, etc., to ensure they really are there and are in the condition a typical person would expect them to be. The inspection often includes a sketch of the property, ensuring the square footage is accurate and illustrating the layout of the property. Most importantly, we identify any obvious amenities - or defects - that would affect the value of the house.

Back at the office, we use two or three approaches to determining the value of the property: paired sales analysis and, in the case of a rental property, an income approach.

Replacement Cost

Here, we pull information on local building costs, the cost of labor and other elements to ascertain how much it would cost to replace the property being appraised. This value usually sets the maximum on what a property would sell for. The cost approach is also the least used method.

Paired Sales Analysis

Appraisers get to know the communities in which they work. They thoroughly understand the value of certain features to the homeowners of that area. Then, the appraiser looks up recent transactions in close proximity to the subject and finds properties which are 'comparable' to the home at hand. By assigning a dollar value to certain items such as fireplaces, room layout, appliance upgrades, extra bathrooms or bedrooms, or quality of construction, we adjust the comparable properties so that they are more accurately in line with the features of subject.

  • For example, if the comparable property has a storm shelter and the subject doesn't, the appraiser may deduct the value of a storm shelter from the sales price of the comparable home.
  • However, if the subject 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 Riverside and Riverside, Good Appraisal Services, Inc. can't be beat. The sales comparison approach to value is most often given the most consideration when an appraisal is for a home sale.

Valuation Using the Income Approach

In the case of income producing properties - rental houses for example - the appraiser may use an additional way of valuing a house. In this situation, the amount of revenue the property yields is taken into consideration along with income produced by nearby properties to determine the current value.

Putting It All Together

Examining the data from all applicable approaches, the appraiser is then ready to document an estimated market value for the subject property. The estimate of value at the bottom of the appraisal report is not necessarily what's being paid for the property even though it is likely the best indication of what a property is worth. 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.Regardless, the appraised value is often used as a guideline for lenders who don't want to loan a buyer more money than they could recover in the event they had to put the property on the market again. At the end of the day, an appraiser from Good Appraisal Services, Inc. will help you discover the most fair and balanced property value, so you can make profitable real estate decisions.