What Are the Parts of an Appraisal?

A home purchase is the biggest transaction some will ever consider. Whether it's a main residence, a second vacation home or an investment, purchasing real property is a detailed financial transaction that requires multiple people working in concert to make it all happen.

You're probably familiar with the parties taking part in the transaction. The most recognizable face in the transaction is the real estate agent. Then, the lender provides the money necessary to fund the exchange. And ensuring all aspects of the sale are completed and that a clear title passes from the seller to the buyer is the title company.

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So, who's responsible for making sure the value of the property is in line with the amount being paid? This is where the appraiser comes in. We provide an unbiased opinion 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 Evelyn Donica Appraisals will ensure, you as an interested party, are informed.

The inspection is where an appraisal starts

Our first task at Evelyn Donica Appraisals is to inspect the property to determine its true status. We must see features hands on, such as the number of bedrooms and bathrooms, the location, and so on, to ensure they indeed are there and are in the condition a typical buyer would expect them to be. To ensure the stated square footage has not been misrepresented and convey the layout of the property, the inspection often requires creating a sketch of the floorplan. Most importantly, the appraiser identifies any obvious features - or defects - that would affect the value of the property.

Once the site has been inspected, an appraiser uses 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

This is where the appraiser gathers information on local construction costs, the cost of labor and other elements to ascertain how much it would cost to construct a property nearly identical to the one being appraised. This figure often sets the upper limit on what a property would sell for. It's also the least used predictor of value.

Analyzing Comparable Sales

Appraisers are intimately familiar with the subdivisions in which they appraise. They thoroughly understand the value of particular features to the people of that area. Then, the appraiser looks up recent transactions in the vicinity and finds properties which are 'comparable' to the subject at hand. Using knowledge of the value of certain items such as fireplaces, room layout, appliance upgrades, extra bathrooms or bedrooms, or quality of construction, we add or subtract from each comparable's sales price so that they are more accurately in line with the features of subject property.

  • If, for example, the comparable has an irrigation system and the subject doesn't, the appraiser may subtract the value of an irrigation system from the sales price of the comparable.
  • However, 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 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 Evelyn Donica Appraisals, we are experts when it comes to knowing the worth of particular items in Hatfield and Polk County neighborhoods. The sales comparison approach to value is most often given the most weight when an appraisal is for a home sale.

Valuation Using the Income Approach

A third method of valuing a house is sometimes applied when a neighborhood has a measurable number of rental properties. In this case, the amount of income the property yields is taken into consideration along with other rents in the area for comparable properties to give an indicator of the current value.

Arriving at a Value Conclusion

Combining information from all approaches, the appraiser is then ready to put down 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 probably will not be the final sales price. 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. Regardless, the appraised value is often 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 put the property on the market again. At the end of the day, an appraiser from Evelyn Donica Appraisals will help you discover the most accurate property value, so you can make the most informed real estate decisions.