What Are the Parts of an Appraisal?

Their home's purchase is the most important financial decision many people will ever make. It doesn't matter if where you raise your family, a seasonal vacation property or a rental fixer upper, purchasing real property is an involved financial transaction that requires multiple people working in concert to see it through.

The majority of the participants are very familiar. The most familiar person in the transaction is the real estate agent. Next, the bank provides the financial capital necessary to bankroll the deal. The title company makes sure that all details of the transaction are completed and that a clear title passes from the seller to the buyer.

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So, who makes sure the property 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 property, 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 the true status of the property, it's our duty to first perform a thorough inspection. We must see features first hand, such as the number of bedrooms and bathrooms, the location, amenities, etc., to ensure they really are there and are in the condition a reasonable person would expect them to be. To make sure the stated size of the property has not been misrepresented and document the layout of the house, the inspection often entails creating a sketch of the floorplan. Most importantly, we identify any obvious amenities - or defects - that would affect the value of the property.

Next, after the inspection, 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.

Replacement Cost

Here, the appraiser pulls information on local construction costs, labor rates and other elements to ascertain how much it would cost to construct a property similar to the one being appraised. This estimate commonly sets the upper limit on what a property would sell for. It's also the least used method.

Analyzing Comparable Sales

Appraisers get to know the neighborhoods in which they work. They innately understand the value of certain features to the people of that area. Then, the appraiser looks up recent sales in the neighborhood 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 adjust the comparable properties so that they more accurately match the features of subject property.

  • Say, for example, the comparable property has a fireplace and the subject doesn't, the appraiser may deduct the value of a fireplace from the sales price of the comparable.
  • 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 could sell for can only be determined once all differences between the comps and the subject have been evaluated. At Premier Appraisal of SoCal, we are an authority in knowing the worth of real estate features in Mission Viejo and Orange County neighborhoods. This approach to value is most often given the most consideration when an appraisal is for a real estate sale.

Valuation Using the Income Approach

A third way of valuing a property is sometimes used when a neighborhood has a reasonable number of renter occupied properties. In this scenario, the amount of income the property produces is taken into consideration along with income produced by similar properties to give an indicator of the current value.

Coming Up With The Final Value

Analyzing the data from all approaches, the appraiser is then ready to state an estimated market value for the property at hand. It is important to note that while the appraised value is probably the most accurate indication of what a property is worth, it probably will not be the price at which the property closes. There are always mitigating factors such as the seller's desire to get out of the property, urgency or 'bidding wars' that may adjust an offer or listing 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 the event 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 attain the most accurate property value, so you can make the most informed real estate decisions.