What Is an Appraisal?

A home purchase can be the biggest investment most could ever encounter. Whether it's where you raise your family, an additional vacation home or an investment, purchasing real property is a detailed financial transaction that requires multiple people working in concert to pull it all off.

You're probably familiar with the parties taking part in the transaction. The most familiar person in the exchange is the real estate agent. Next, the mortgage company provides the money required to fund the transaction. And ensuring all details 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 value of the real estate is in line with the purchase price? This is where you meet the appraiser. We provide an unbiased opinion of what a buyer could expect to pay — or a seller receive — for a property, 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.

Appraisals begin with the inspection

Our first responsibility at Property Valuation Group is to inspect the property to determine its true status. We must see features first hand, such as the number of bedrooms and bathrooms, the location, amenities, etc., to ensure they really exist and are in the shape a reasonable buyer would expect them to be. To ensure the stated square footage has not been misrepresented 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.

Back at the office, 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

Here, we analyze information on local building costs, the cost of labor and other factors to derive how much it would cost to replace the property being appraised. This value commonly sets the maximum on what a property would sell for. It's also the least used predictor of value.

Sales Comparison

Appraisers are intimately familiar with the communities in which they appraise. They innately understand the value of specific features to the people of that area. Then, the appraiser researches recent transactions in close proximity to the subject 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 adjust the comparable properties so that they more accurately match the features of subject.

  • If, for example, the comparable has an extra half bath that the subject does not, the appraiser may deduct 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 an amount 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. When it comes to putting a value on features of homes in Ferndale and Oakland, Property Valuation Group can't be beat. The sales comparison approach to value is typically awarded the most importance when an appraisal is for a home sale.

Valuation Using the Income Approach

A third way of valuing real estate is sometimes employed when a neighborhood has a measurable number of renter occupied properties. In this case, the amount of revenue the real estate produces is factored in with other rents in the area for comparable properties to derive the current value.

Coming Up With The Final Value

Examining the data from all approaches, the appraiser is then ready to document an estimated market value for the property in question. The estimate of value at the bottom of the appraisal report is not necessarily the final sales price even though it is likely the best indication of a property's valuePrices 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 typically employed as a guideline for lenders who don't want to loan a buyer more money than they could get back in case they had to sell the property again. Here's what it all boils down to, an appraiser from Property Valuation Group will help you discover the most accurate property value, so you can make profitable real estate decisions.