Understanding Appraisals

Their home's purchase can be the most important financial decision most of us will ever make. It doesn't matter if where you raise your family, an additional vacation property or a rental fixer upper, purchasing real property is an involved financial transaction that requires multiple parties to see it through.

Most of the participants are quite familiar. The real estate agent is the most known person in the transaction. Next, the mortgage company provides the money necessary to fund the deal. And ensuring all areas of the transaction are completed and that the title is clear to pass from the seller to the purchaser is the title company.

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 property is worth the amount being paid? In comes the appraiser. We provide an unbiased opinion of what a buyer could 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 ACME Appraisal will ensure, you as an interested party, are informed.

The inspection is where an appraisal starts

Our first duty at ACME Appraisal is to inspect the property to determine its true status. We must physically view aspects of the property, such as the number of bedrooms and bathrooms, the location, amenities, etc., to ensure they truly exist and are in the shape a reasonable person would expect them to be. To make sure the stated square footage has not been misrepresented and describe the layout of the home, the inspection often includes creating a sketch of the floorplan. Most importantly, the appraiser identifies any obvious features - or defects - that would affect the value of the house.

Once the site has been inspected, we use 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 gather information on local construction costs, labor rates and other elements to ascertain how much it would cost to build a property similar to the one being appraised. This estimate usually sets the maximum on what a property would sell for. It's also the least used predictor of value.

Paired Sales Analysis

Appraisers become very 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 sales in close proximity to the subject and finds properties which are 'comparable' to the property in question. By assigning a dollar value to certain items such as fireplaces, room layout, appliance upgrades, extra bathrooms or bedrooms, or quality of construction, we adjust the comparable properties so that they are more accurately in line with the features of subject.

  • For example, if the comparable has an extra half bath that the subject does not, the appraiser may subtract the value of that half bath 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 a certain amount 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. At ACME Appraisal, we are experts when it comes to knowing the worth of particular items in Bluffton and Allen County neighborhoods. This approach to value is most often given the most consideration when an appraisal is for a real estate sale.

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 scenario, the amount of revenue the property generates is taken into consideration along with income produced by similar properties to give an indicator of the current value.

The Bottom Line

Analyzing the data from all approaches, the appraiser is then ready to document an estimated market value for the subject property. It is important to note that while the appraised value is probably the best indication of what a house is worth, it may not be the price at which the property closes. Depending on the specific 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.But the appraised value is typically employed as a guideline for lenders who don't want to loan a buyer more money than the property is actually worth. Here's what it all boils down to, an appraiser from ACME Appraisal will help you attain the most fair and balanced property value, so you can make the most informed real estate decisions.