An Overview of the Appraisal Process

Purchasing real estate is the most significant financial decision some people will ever consider. It doesn't matter if a main residence, an additional vacation home or one of many rentals, the purchase of real property is an involved financial transaction that requires multiple parties to make it all happen.

Most of the people participating are very familiar. The most known entity in the transaction is the real estate agent. Then, the mortgage company provides the money needed to fund the transaction. And the title company makes sure that all details of the exchange are completed and that the title is clear to pass 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, what party is responsible for making sure the real estate is worth the amount being paid? This is where the appraiser comes in. We provide an unbiased opinion 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 begins

Our first responsibility at Accuracy Matters Appraisals is to inspect the property to ascertain its true status. We must actually see 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. To ensure the stated square footage is accurate and convey the layout of the house, the inspection often entails 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: paired sales analysis and, in the case of a rental property, an income approach.

Replacement Cost

This is where we use information on local construction costs, the cost of labor and other elements to ascertain how much it would cost to build a property comparable to the one being appraised. This estimate often sets the maximum on what a property would sell for. It's also the least used method.

Sales Comparison

Appraisers get to know the subdivisions in which they work. They thoroughly understand the value of specific features to the residents of that area. Then, the appraiser researches recent transactions in the neighborhood and finds properties which are 'comparable' to the real estate in question. By assigning a dollar value to certain items such as square footage, additional bathrooms, hardwood floors, fireplaces or view lots (just to name a few), we add or subtract from each comparable's sales price so that they more accurately match the features of subject.

  • Say, for example, the comparable has a fireplace and the subject doesn't, the appraiser may subtract the value of a fireplace 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 a certain amount to the comparable property.

An opinion 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 South Fork and Rio Grande, Accuracy Matters Appraisals can't be beat. The sales comparison approach to value is usually awarded the most weight when an appraisal is for a real estate purchase.

Valuation Using the Income Approach

A third way of valuing approach to value is sometimes employed when an area has a measurable number of renter occupied properties. In this situation, the amount of revenue the real estate produces is factored in with income produced by neighboring properties to give an indicator of the current value.

Reconciliation

Combining information from all approaches, the appraiser is then ready to stipulate an estimated market value for the property at hand. The estimate of value on the appraisal report is not always the final sales price even though it is likely the best indication of what a property is worth. Prices can always 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 the event they had to sell the property again. Here's what it all boils down to, 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.