What Are the Parts of an Appraisal?

Their home's purchase can be the largest investment many could ever encounter. It doesn't matter if a primary residence, a second vacation home or an investment, purchasing real property is a complex financial transaction that requires multiple parties to see it through.

Most of the parties involved are quite familiar. The real estate agent is the most familiar face in the transaction. Next, the lender provides the financial capital required to fund the exchange. And ensuring all areas of the exchange are completed and that a clear title transfers to the buyer from the seller is the title company.

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So, what party is responsible for making sure the property is worth the purchase price? This is where you meet the appraiser. We provide an unbiased estimate 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 Graham Appraisal will ensure, you as an interested party, are informed.

Appraisals begin with the property inspection

To ascertain the true status of the property, it's our duty to first conduct a thorough inspection. We must physically see features, such as the number of bedrooms and bathrooms, the location, and so on, to ensure they indeed are present and are in the condition a reasonable buyer would expect them to be. The inspection often includes a sketch of the house, ensuring the square footage is accurate and conveying the layout of the property. Most importantly, we look for any obvious features - or defects - that would have an impact on the value of the property.

After the inspection, 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.

Replacement Cost

Here, the appraiser gathers information on local building costs, labor rates and other factors to figure out how much it would cost to build a property similar to the one being appraised. This estimate often sets the upper limit on what a property would sell for. The cost approach is also the least used method.

Analyzing Comparable Sales

Appraisers become very familiar with the neighborhoods in which they work. They innately understand the value of particular features to the people of that area. Then, the appraiser researches recent sales in close proximity to the subject and finds properties which are 'comparable' to the property in question. Using knowledge of the value of certain items such as square footage, extra 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.

  • If, for example, the comparable property 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.
  • 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.

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 putting a value on features of homes in Glasgow and Barren, Graham Appraisal is second to none. The sales comparison approach to value is most often given the most importance when an appraisal is for a real estate sale.

Valuation Using the Income Approach

A third method of valuing approach to value is sometimes used when a neighborhood has a measurable number of renter occupied properties. In this situation, the amount of revenue the real estate yields is taken into consideration along with income produced by neighboring properties to give an indicator of the current value.

Putting It All Together

Analyzing the data from all applicable approaches, the appraiser is then ready to document an estimated market value for the property at hand. The estimate of value at the bottom of 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 the final price 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 they could get back in the event they had to sell the property again. The bottom line is, an appraiser from Graham Appraisal will help you attain the most fair and balanced property value, so you can make wise real estate decisions.