What Goes Into an Appraisal?

Buying real estate is the most important investment some of us may ever make. Whether it's a primary residence, an additional vacation home or one of many rentals, the purchase of real property is an involved transaction that requires multiple parties to see it through.

You're probably familiar with the parties having a role in the transaction. The real estate agent is the most familiar face in the transaction. Next, the mortgage company provides the money necessary to finance the deal. The title company sees to it that all areas of the sale 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 real estate is worth the purchase price? This is where you meet the appraiser. We provide an unbiased estimate 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 begins

Our first duty at ACME Appraisal is to inspect the property to ascertain its true status. We must actually view aspects of the property, such as the number of bedrooms and bathrooms, the location, living areas, etc, to ensure they really are there and are in the shape a typical person would expect them to be. The inspection often includes a sketch of the floorplan, ensuring the square footage is proper and illustrating the layout of the property. Most importantly, the appraiser looks for any obvious features - or defects - that would affect the value of the house.

Back at the office, we use two or three approaches to determining the value of real property: a paired sales analysis, a replacement cost calculation, and an income approach when rental properties are prevalent.

Cost Approach

Here, the appraiser analyzes information on local construction costs, labor rates and other elements to derive how much it would cost to construct a property nearly identical to the one being appraised. This value commonly 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 subdivisions in which they appraise. They innately understand the value of certain features to the residents 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 at hand. Using knowledge of the value of certain items such as remodeled rooms, types of flooring, energy efficient items, patios and porches, or extra storage space, we adjust the comparable properties so that they are more accurately in line with the features of subject property.

  • If, for example, the comparable property has an irrigation system and the subject does not, the appraiser may deduct the value of an irrigation system from the sales price of the comparable home.
  • 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.

In the end, the appraiser reconciles the adjusted sales prices of all the comps and then derives an opinion of what the subject could sell for. At ACME Appraisal, we are an authority when it comes to knowing the value of particular items in Bluffton and Allen County neighborhoods. This approach to value is commonly given the most importance when an appraisal is for a real estate purchase.

Valuation Using the Income Approach

In the case of income producing properties - rental houses for example - the appraiser may use an additional method of valuing a house. In this situation, the amount of revenue the real estate produces 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

Analyzing the data from all applicable approaches, the appraiser is then ready to document an estimated market value for the subject property. Note: While the appraised value is probably the most accurate indication of what a house is worth, it probably will not be the final sales price. 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 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 ACME Appraisal will help you attain the most accurate property value, so you can make profitable real estate decisions.