What goes into an appraisal?

One's home purchase can be the largest transaction most of us may ever consider. It doesn't matter if it's where you raise your family, a seasonal vacation property or one of many rentals, the purchase of real property is a detailed transaction that requires multiple parties to see it through.

To learn more about appraising, click here to see a short video or call us today to talk about your specific property.

Most of the participants are quite familiar. The real estate agent is the most recognizable person in the exchange. Then, the lender provides the financial capital needed to fund the deal. Ensuring all requirements of the sale are completed and that the title is clear to pass to the buyer from the seller is the title company.

So what party is 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 property, where both buyer and seller are informed parties. A professional Georgia licensed appraiser from Appraiser, Will Roberson will ensure you as an interested party are informed.

Inspecting the subject property

Our first duty at Appraiser, Will Roberson is to inspect the property to determine its true status. We must actually see features, such as the number of bedrooms and bathrooms, the location, amenities, etc., to ensure they really are present and are in the condition a typical person would expect them to be. The inspection often includes a sketch of the house, ensuring the square footage is correct and illustrating the layout of the property. Most importantly, we look for any obvious amenities - or defects - that would have an impact on the value of the house.

Once the site has been inspected, an appraiser employs two or three approaches when determining the value of the property: paired sales analysis and, in the case of a rental property, an income approach.

Cost Approach

This is where the appraiser uses information on local construction costs, labor rates and other elements to derive how much it would cost to replace the property being appraised. This estimate usually 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 neighborhoods in which they appraise. We thoroughly understand the value of certain features to the homeowners of that area. Then, the appraiser researches recent transactions in close proximity to the subject and finds properties which are 'comparable' to the property in question. By assigning a dollar value to certain items such as upgraded appliances, extra bathrooms, an 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 property.

  • For example, if the comparable 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 home.
  • However, if the subject has an extra half-bathroom and the comparable does not, the appraiser might add a certain amount to the comparable property.
After all differences have been accounted for, the appraiser reconciles the adjusted sales prices of all the comps and then derives an opinion of what the subject could sell for. The sales comparison approach to value is usually given the most consideration when an appraisal is for a home purchase.

Valuation Using the Income Approach

In the case of income producing properties - rental houses for example - we may use a third method of valuing a property. In this situation, the amount of revenue the property yields is factored in with income produced by nearby properties to give an indicator of the current value.

The Bottom Line

Analyzing the data from all approaches, the appraiser is then ready to put down an estimated market value for the subject property. 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 what a property could sell for in an open market. Prices can always be driven up or down by extenuating circumstances like the motivation or urgency of a seller or 'bidding wars'. Regardless, the appraised value is often 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. It all comes down to this: An appraiser from Appraiser, Will Roberson will help you get the most fair and balanced property value, so you can make wise real estate decisions.