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Real Estate Appraisals: A Primer

A home purchase can be the largest investment most could ever make. It doesn't matter if a primary residence, a second vacation property or a rental fixer upper, the purchase of real property is an involved transaction that requires multiple people working in concert to pull it all off.

Practically all the participants are very familiar. The most known person in the exchange is the real estate agent. Next, the bank provides the financial capital necessary to fund the deal. And the title company ensures that all areas of the exchange are completed and that the title is clear to transfer from the seller to the buyer.

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

So, who makes sure the value of the real estate is in line with the purchase price? 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 Amerappraise, LLC will ensure, you as an interested party, are informed.

Inspecting the subject property

To determine an accurate status of the property, it's our duty to first conduct a thorough inspection. We must physically view features, such as the number of bedrooms and bathrooms, the location, amenities, etc., to ensure they truly are present and are in the condition a typical person would expect them to be. The inspection often includes a sketch of the floorplan, ensuring the square footage is accurate and conveying the layout of the property. Most importantly, the appraiser identifies any obvious features - or defects - that would affect the value of the house.

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

Replacement Cost

Here, the appraiser pulls information on local building costs, the cost of labor and other factors to determine how much it would cost to replace the property being appraised. This figure commonly sets the maximum on what a property would sell for. The cost approach is also the least used method.

Sales Comparison

Appraisers are intimately familiar with the communities in which they work. They thoroughly understand the value of specific features to the residents of that area. Then, the appraiser looks up recent sales in the area and finds properties which are 'comparable' to the real estate being appraised. Using knowledge of the value of certain items such as remodeled rooms, types of flooring, energy efficient items, patios and porches, or extra storage space, we adjust the comparable properties so that they more accurately portray the features of subject.

  • For example, if the comparable property has a fireplace and the subject doesn't, the appraiser may deduct the value of a fireplace from the sales price of the comparable home.
  • However, in the case where the subject has something such as an extra half bath that a comparable doesn't have, the appraiser might add the value of that bath to the comparable property.

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. When it comes to putting a value on features of homes in Bear and New Castle, Amerappraise, LLC is second to none. The sales comparison approach to value is most often awarded the most weight when an appraisal is for a home sale.

Valuation Using the Income Approach

A third method of valuing a house is sometimes employed when an area has a reasonable number of rental properties. In this situation, the amount of revenue the property yields is factored in with income produced by nearby properties to give an indicator of the current value.

Putting It All Together

Examining the data from all applicable approaches, the appraiser is then ready to put down an estimated market value for the property in question. Note: 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. It's not uncommon for prices to be driven up or down by extenuating circumstances like the motivation or urgency of a seller or 'bidding wars'. But the appraised value is often 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 sell the property again. Here's what it all boils down to, an appraiser from Amerappraise, LLC will help you attain the most accurate property value, so you can make profitable real estate decisions.