An Overview of the Appraisal Process

Their home's purchase is the most significant investment most may ever consider. It doesn't matter if a primary residence, a second vacation home or one of many rentals, the purchase of real property is a complex transaction that requires multiple parties to pull it all off.

Practically all the participants are quite familiar. The real estate agent is the most recognizable entity in the exchange. Next, the lender provides the financial capital needed to finance the exchange. The title company sees to it that all areas of the exchange are completed and that the title is clear to pass from the seller to the buyer.

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So, who's responsible for making sure the real estate is worth the amount being paid? In comes the appraiser. 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 Property Valuation Group will ensure, you as an interested party, are informed.

The inspection is where an appraisal begins

To ascertain the true status of the property, it's our responsibility to first complete 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 are present and are in the shape a reasonable buyer would expect them to be. To ensure the stated size of the property is accurate and illustrate the layout of the home, the inspection often includes creating a sketch of the floorplan. Most importantly, the appraiser identifies any obvious amenities - or defects - that would affect the value of the property.

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.

Replacement Cost

This is where the appraiser pulls information on local construction costs, labor rates and other factors to derive how much it would cost to build a property nearly identical to the one being appraised. This value often 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 become very familiar with the subdivisions in which they work. They innately understand the value of specific features to the people of that area. Then, the appraiser looks up recent transactions in close proximity to the subject and finds properties which are 'comparable' to the property at hand. Using knowledge of the value of certain items such as upgraded appliances, extra bathrooms, additional living area, quality of construction, lot size, we add or subtract from each comparable's sales price so that they more accurately match the features of subject.

  • If, for example, the comparable property has an extra half bath that the subject doesn't, the appraiser may subtract the value of that half bath from the sales price of the comparable.
  • 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.

A valid estimate of what the subject might sell for can only be determined once all differences between the comps and the subject have been evaluated. When it comes to valuing features of homes in Ferndale and Oakland, Property Valuation Group is second to none. The sales comparison approach to value is commonly awarded the most weight when an appraisal is for a real estate purchase.

Valuation Using the Income Approach

A third method of valuing a property is sometimes applied when an area has a measurable number of renter occupied properties. In this scenario, the amount of revenue the property yields is factored in with income produced by neighboring properties to determine the current value.

Putting It All Together

Combining information from all approaches, the appraiser is then ready to document 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. There are always mitigating factors such as the seller's desire to get out of the property, urgency or 'bidding wars' that may adjust an offer or listing price up or down. Regardless, 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. It all comes down to this, an appraiser from Property Valuation Group will guarantee you get the most accurate property value, so you can make the most informed real estate decisions.