What Are the Components of an Appraisal?

A home purchase is the most significant investment most of us could ever consider. It doesn't matter if a main residence, a seasonal vacation property or an investment, the purchase of real property is a detailed financial transaction that requires multiple parties to pull it all off.

Most of the participants are quite familiar. The most known entity in the exchange is the real estate agent. Then, the lender provides the money needed to bankroll the transaction. The title company sees to it that all aspects of the sale are completed and that the title is clear to transfer to the buyer from the seller.

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 property 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 parcel of real estate, where both buyer and seller are informed parties. A licensed, certified, professional appraiser from Accuracy Matters Appraisals will ensure, you as an interested party, are informed.

The inspection is where an appraisal starts

Our first duty at Accuracy Matters Appraisals is to inspect the property to determine its true status. We must actually see features, such as the number of bedrooms and bathrooms, the location, amenities, etc., to ensure they really exist and are in the shape a reasonable buyer would expect them to be. To ensure the stated size of the property has not been misrepresented and illustrate the layout of the property, the inspection often includes creating a sketch of the floorplan. Most importantly, the appraiser looks for any obvious features - or defects - that would affect the value of the property.

Once the site has been inspected, an appraiser uses two or three approaches to determining the value of real property: sales comparison and, in the case of a rental property, an income approach.

Cost Approach

This is where we analyze information on local building costs, the cost of labor and other elements to calculate how much it would cost to build a property nearly identical to the one being appraised. This estimate often sets the maximum on what a property would sell for. It's also the least used predictor of value.

Sales Comparison

Appraisers get to know the neighborhoods in which they appraise. 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 subject in question. By assigning a dollar value to certain items such as remodeled rooms, types of flooring, energy efficient items, patios and porches, or additional storage space, we adjust the comparable properties so that they more accurately match the features of subject.

  • If, for example, the comparable has a storm shelter and the subject doesn't, the appraiser may deduct the value of a storm shelter from the sales price of the comparable home.
  • However, if the subject property has an extra half-bathroom and the comparable does not, the appraiser might add an amount 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 South Fork and Rio Grande, Accuracy Matters Appraisals can't be beat. The sales comparison approach to value is usually given the most consideration 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 an additional approach to value. In this case, the amount of revenue the real estate yields is factored in with income produced by neighboring properties to derive the current value.

The Bottom Line

Analyzing the data from all applicable approaches, the appraiser is then ready to state an estimated market value for the property in question. It is important to note that while the appraised value is probably the most reliable indication of what a property is worth, it probably will not be the final sales price. 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. But the appraised value is often 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 Accuracy Matters Appraisals will guarantee you get the most fair and balanced property value, so you can make the most informed real estate decisions.