profile picture

Understanding Appraisals

Purchasing a home can be the most important transaction most of us could ever make. Whether it's where you raise your family, a seasonal vacation home or a rental fixer upper, the purchase of real property is a complex financial transaction that requires multiple parties to pull it all off.

You're probably familiar with the parties taking part in the transaction. The most familiar person in the exchange is the real estate agent. Next, the bank provides the financial capital required to fund the transaction. And the title company makes sure that all areas of the transaction are completed and that a clear title transfers from the seller to the purchaser.

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 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 parcel of real estate, where both buyer and seller are informed parties. A licensed, certified, professional appraiser from Anderson & Associates will ensure, you as an interested party, are informed.

The inspection is where an appraisal begins

To determine the true status of the property, it's our responsibility to first complete 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 truly are there and are in the condition a typical buyer would expect them to be. The inspection often includes a sketch of the house, ensuring the square footage is proper and illustrating the layout of the property. Most importantly, we identify any obvious features - or defects - that would have an impact on the value of the house.

After the inspection, we use two or three approaches to determining the value of real 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, the cost of labor and other elements to ascertain 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.

Paired Sales Analysis

Appraisers are intimately familiar with the communities in which they work. They innately understand the value of certain features to the people of that area. Then, the appraiser looks up recent transactions in close proximity to the subject and finds properties which are 'comparable' to the real estate in question. Using knowledge of the value of certain items such as upgraded appliances, extra bathrooms, additional living area, quality of construction, lot size, we adjust the comparable properties so that they are more accurately in line with the features of subject.

  • Say, for example, the comparable has a fireplace and the subject does not, the appraiser may deduct the value of a fireplace 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.

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 associating a value with features of homes in Ridgefield and Clark, Anderson & Associates can't be beat. This approach to value is typically awarded the most importance when an appraisal is for a home exchange.

Valuation Using the Income Approach

In the case of income producing properties - rental houses for example - we may use an additional approach to value. In this case, the amount of revenue the real estate yields is taken into consideration along with other rents in the area for comparable properties to give an indicator of 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 at hand. 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 individual circumstances 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 typically used as a guideline for lenders who don't want to loan a buyer more money than the property is actually worth. The bottom line is, an appraiser from Anderson & Associates will guarantee you get the most fair and balanced property value, so you can make wise real estate decisions.