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Real Property Appraisals: A Primer

A home purchase is the most important transaction many will ever consider. Whether it's a main residence, a second vacation property or an investment, purchasing real property is a detailed transaction that requires multiple people working in concert to make it all happen.

It's likely you are familiar with the parties taking part in the transaction. The most known person in the exchange is the real estate agent. Then, the lender provides the financial capital needed to fund the deal. And ensuring all requirements of the sale are completed and that a clear title passes from the seller to the buyer 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, who's responsible for making sure the property is worth the purchase price? This is where the appraiser comes in. We provide an unbiased opinion of what a buyer could 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 Amerappraise, LLC will ensure, you as an interested party, are informed.

Inspecting the subject property

Our first task at Amerappraise, LLC is to inspect the property to determine its true status. We must see aspects of the property first hand, such as the number of bedrooms and bathrooms, the location, and so on, to ensure they truly are there and are in the condition a typical person would expect them to be. To ensure the stated square footage has not been misrepresented and document the layout of the property, the inspection often entails creating a sketch of the floorplan. Most importantly, we look for any obvious features - or defects - that would affect the value of the property.

Once the site has been inspected, 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

This is where we gather information on local building costs, labor rates and other elements to derive how much it would cost to construct a property similar to the one 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 get to know the communities in which they work. They thoroughly understand the value of particular features to the homeowners of that area. Then, the appraiser researches recent sales in close proximity to the subject and finds properties which are 'comparable' to the home in question. Using knowledge of the value of 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 fireplace and the subject does not, the appraiser may subtract the value of a fireplace from the sales price of the comparable home.
  • 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 knowing the true value of features of homes in Bear and New Castle, Amerappraise, LLC is second to none. This approach to value is most often given the most weight when an appraisal is for a home purchase.

Valuation Using the Income Approach

A third way of valuing a property is sometimes employed when a neighborhood has a measurable number of rental properties. In this case, the amount of revenue the real estate produces is taken into consideration along with other rents in the area for comparable properties to give an indicator of the current value.

Putting It All Together

Analyzing the data from all applicable approaches, the appraiser is then ready to document an estimated market value for the property at hand. The estimate of value at the bottom of the appraisal report is not necessarily the final sales price even though it is likely the best indication of what a property is worth. 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 often used as a guideline for lenders who don't want to loan a buyer more money than they could recover in case they had to sell the property again. It all comes down to this, an appraiser from Amerappraise, LLC will guarantee you get the most fair and balanced property value, so you can make wise real estate decisions.