What Are the Parts of an Appraisal?

A home purchase can be the biggest investment some will ever encounter. It doesn't matter if a main residence, an additional vacation home or an investment, purchasing real property is an involved financial transaction that requires multiple parties to pull it all off.

Most people are familiar with the parties taking part in the transaction. The most known person in the transaction is the real estate agent. Then, the lender provides the financial capital required to fund the transaction. And ensuring all requirements of the transaction are completed and that the title is clear to pass from the seller to the buyer is the title company.

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So, who makes sure the value of the property 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 Collard Appraisal Group will ensure, you as an interested party, are informed.

The inspection is where an appraisal begins

To determine an accurate status of the property, it's our responsibility to first conduct a thorough inspection. We must actually view aspects of the property, such as the number of bedrooms and bathrooms, the location, living areas, etc, to ensure they indeed are present and are in the shape a reasonable buyer 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 amenities - or defects - that would affect the value of the house.

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

Replacement Cost

This is where the appraiser analyzes information on local building costs, the cost of labor and other factors to figure out 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.

Analyzing Comparable Sales

Appraisers are intimately familiar with the neighborhoods in which they work. They innately understand the value of particular features to the residents of that area. Then, the appraiser researches recent transactions in close proximity to the subject and finds properties which are 'comparable' to the real estate at hand. By assigning a dollar value to certain items such as remodeled rooms, types of flooring, energy efficient items, patios and porches, or extra storage space, we add or subtract from each comparable's sales price so that they are more accurately in line with the features of subject property.

  • For example, if the comparable has an irrigation system and the subject doesn't, the appraiser may subtract the value of an irrigation system from the sales price of the comparable.
  • 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.

A true estimate of what the subject could sell for can only be determined once all differences between the comps and the subject have been evaluated. When it comes to putting a value on features of homes in Palmdale and Los Angeles, Collard Appraisal Group is second to none. The sales comparison approach to value is commonly awarded the most importance when an appraisal is for a real estate exchange.

Valuation Using the Income Approach

In the case of income producing properties - rental houses for example - the appraiser may use a third approach to value. In this situation, 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

Examining the data from all applicable approaches, the appraiser is then ready to put down an estimated market value for the property in question. 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. There are always mitigating factors such as the seller's desire to get out of the property, urgency or 'bidding wars' that may adjust the final price up or down. Regardless, the appraised value is typically used as a guideline for lenders who don't want to loan a buyer more money than the property is actually worth. At the end of the day, an appraiser from Collard Appraisal Group will guarantee you discover the most accurate property value, so you can make the most informed real estate decisions.