Real Estate Appraisals: A Primer
Their home's purchase is the most serious investment some may ever encounter. Whether it's where you raise your family, a second vacation property or an investment, purchasing real property is a complex financial transaction that requires multiple parties to pull it all off.
The majority of the participants are very familiar. The most known person in the exchange is the real estate agent. Then, the mortgage company provides the financial capital needed to finance the exchange. And the title company sees to it that all aspects of the exchange are completed and that the title is clear to transfer from the seller to the purchaser.
So, what party is responsible for making sure the value of the property is in line with the purchase price? 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 House, Inc. will ensure, you as an interested party, are informed.
The inspection is where an appraisal starts
Our first task at Appraisal House, Inc. is to inspect the property to determine its true status. We must actually view aspects of the property, such as the number of bedrooms and bathrooms, the location, amenities, etc., to ensure they really exist and are in the condition a reasonable person would expect them to be. The inspection often includes a sketch of the house, ensuring the square footage is accurate and illustrating the layout of the property. Most importantly, the appraiser identifies 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: a paired sales analysis, a replacement cost calculation, and an income approach when rental properties are prevalent.
Here, we analyze 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 commonly sets the maximum on what a property would sell for. The cost approach is also the least used predictor of value.
Paired Sales Analysis
Appraisers get to know the communities in which they work. They thoroughly understand the value of particular features to the residents of that area. Then, the appraiser researches recent sales in the vicinity and finds properties which are 'comparable' to the property being appraised. By assigning a dollar value to certain items such as square footage, additional bathrooms, hardwood floors, fireplaces or view lots (just to name a few), we add or subtract from each comparable's sales price so that they are more accurately in line with the features of subject.
In the end, the appraiser reconciles the adjusted sales prices of all the comps and then derives an opinion of what the subject could sell for. At Appraisal House, Inc., we are experts in knowing the value of real estate features in Destin and Okaloosa County neighborhoods. The sales comparison approach to value is typically awarded the most importance when an appraisal is for a real estate purchase.
Valuation Using the Income Approach
In the case of income producing properties - rental houses for example - we may use a third approach to value. In this situation, the amount of income the property generates is factored in with other rents in the area for comparable properties to derive the current value.
Putting It All Together
Combining information from all applicable approaches, the appraiser is then ready to document an estimated market value for the property in question. The estimate of value at the bottom of the appraisal report is not always the final sales price even though it is likely the best indication of a property's valueDepending 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 get back in the event they had to sell the property again. The bottom line is, an appraiser from Appraisal House, Inc. will guarantee you discover the most fair and balanced property value, so you can make the most informed real estate decisions.