An Overview of the Appraisal Process

Their home's purchase is the largest investment many may ever make. It doesn't matter if a main residence, an additional vacation property or an investment, the purchase of real property is a complex transaction that requires multiple parties to see it through.

Practically all the people involved are quite familiar. The most recognizable entity in the transaction is the real estate agent. Next, the mortgage company provides the money required to bankroll the deal. And ensuring all areas of the sale are completed and that a clear title transfers from the seller to the purchaser is the title company.

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So, what party makes 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 property, where both buyer and seller are informed parties. A licensed, certified, professional appraiser from ACME Appraisal will ensure, you as an interested party, are informed.

The inspection is where an appraisal starts

To ascertain the true status of the property, it's our duty to first conduct a thorough inspection. We must see aspects of the property first hand, such as the number of bedrooms and bathrooms, the location, amenities, etc., to ensure they indeed exist and are in the shape a typical person would expect them to be. The inspection often includes a sketch of the house, ensuring the square footage is proper and conveying the layout of the property. Most importantly, the appraiser looks for any obvious features - or defects - that would affect the value of the house.

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.

Cost Approach

Here, we analyze information on local construction costs, the cost of labor and other factors to figure out how much it would cost to construct a property nearly identical to the one being appraised. This value usually sets the maximum on what a property would sell for. The cost approach is also the least used predictor of value.

Paired Sales Analysis

Appraisers are intimately familiar with the communities in which they work. They thoroughly understand the value of specific features to the homeowners of that area. Then, the appraiser looks up recent transactions in the vicinity and finds properties which are 'comparable' to the subject being appraised. 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 property.

  • For example, if the comparable has a storm shelter and the subject does not, the appraiser may deduct the value of a storm shelter from the sales price of the comparable home.
  • If the subject property has an extra half-bathroom and the comparable does not, the appraiser might add an amount to the comparable property.

Once all necessary adjustments have been made, 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 worth of features of homes in Bluffton and Allen, ACME Appraisal is second to none. The sales comparison approach to value is most often given the most consideration when an appraisal is for a real estate purchase.

Valuation Using the Income Approach

A third way of valuing a house is sometimes employed when an area has a reasonable number of rental properties. In this scenario, the amount of revenue the property produces is factored in with other rents in the area for comparable properties to determine the current value.

Putting It All Together

Examining the data from all approaches, the appraiser is then ready to put down an estimated market value for the property in question. Note: While the appraised value is probably the strongest indication of what a house is worth, it may 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 employed as a guideline for lenders who don't want to loan a buyer more money than the property is actually worth. It all comes down to this, an appraiser from ACME Appraisal will guarantee you discover the most accurate property value, so you can make the most informed real estate decisions.