What Goes Into an Appraisal?

A home purchase can be the largest financial decision most of us will ever consider. It doesn't matter if a primary residence, a seasonal vacation property or an investment, the purchase of real property is a detailed transaction that requires multiple people working in concert to make it all happen.

Most of the parties involved are very familiar. The real estate agent is the most recognizable face in the transaction. Then, the lender provides the money required to fund the deal. And ensuring all areas of the transaction are completed and that a clear title passes to the buyer from the seller is the title company.

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So, what party is 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 Premier Appraisal of SoCal will ensure, you as an interested party, are informed.

Appraisals start with the inspection

To ascertain an accurate status of the property, it's our duty to first complete a thorough inspection. We must physically see features, such as the number of bedrooms and bathrooms, the location, and so on, to ensure they truly exist and are in the condition a typical buyer would expect them to be. The inspection often includes a sketch of the floorplan, ensuring the square footage is accurate and illustrating the layout of the property. Most importantly, the appraiser looks for any obvious amenities - or defects - that would have an impact on the value of the property.

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

Cost Approach

This is where we use information on local construction costs, the cost of labor and other factors to figure out how much it would cost to construct a property similar to the one being appraised. This estimate 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 get to know the communities in which they work. They thoroughly understand the value of particular features to the residents of that area. Then, the appraiser researches recent transactions in close proximity to the subject and finds properties which are 'comparable' to the home in question. Using knowledge of the value of certain items such as fireplaces, room layout, appliance upgrades, additional bathrooms or bedrooms, or quality of construction, we adjust the comparable properties so that they more accurately portray the features of subject property.

  • For example, if the comparable has a storm shelter and the subject does not, the appraiser may subtract the value of a storm shelter from the sales price of the comparable.
  • If the subject property has an extra half-bathroom and the comparable does not, the appraiser might add an amount to the comparable property.

A valid estimate of what the subject could sell for can only be determined once all differences between the comps and the subject have been evaluated. When it comes to knowing the true worth of features of homes in Mission Viejo and Orange, Premier Appraisal of SoCal is your local authority. The sales comparison approach to value is usually awarded the most importance when an appraisal is for a real estate sale.

Valuation Using the Income Approach

A third method of valuing a property is sometimes used when an area has a measurable number of renter occupied properties. In this scenario, the amount of income the real estate produces is taken into consideration along with income produced by neighboring properties to derive the current value.

Arriving at a Value Conclusion

Combining information from all approaches, the appraiser is then ready to state 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 a property's valueDepending on the individual circumstances of the buyer or seller, their level of urgency or a buyer's desire for that exact property, the closing price of a home can always be driven up or down.But the appraised value is often employed as a guideline for lenders who don't want to loan a buyer more money than they could recover in case they had to put the property on the market again. Here's what it all boils down to, an appraiser from Premier Appraisal of SoCal will help you get the most accurate property value, so you can make wise real estate decisions.