Comprehending Appraisals

A home purchase can be the most serious transaction many people could ever consider. Whether it's where you raise your family, a seasonal vacation property or one of many rentals, the purchase of real property is a complex transaction that requires multiple parties to make it all happen.

It's likely you are familiar with the parties taking part in the transaction. The real estate agent is the most recognizable person in the exchange. Next, the mortgage company provides the money required to finance the transaction. And ensuring all requirements of the exchange are completed and that the title is clear to transfer from the seller to the purchaser is the title company.

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

So, who makes sure the real estate is worth the amount being paid? This is where the appraiser comes in. 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 Appraisals Online, Inc. will ensure, you as an interested party, are informed.

The inspection is where an appraisal starts

Our first task at Appraisals Online, Inc. is to inspect the property to determine its true status. We must see features first hand, such as the number of bedrooms and bathrooms, the location, living areas, etc, to ensure they truly exist and are in the condition a typical buyer would expect them to be. To ensure the stated size of the property has not been misrepresented and describe the layout of the house, the inspection often includes creating a sketch of the floorplan. Most importantly, we identify any obvious features - or defects - that would affect the value of the property.

Back at the office, an appraiser uses 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.

Replacement Cost

This is where the appraiser gathers information on local building costs, the cost of labor and other elements to calculate how much it would cost to construct a property nearly identical 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 predictor of value.

Sales Comparison

Appraisers are intimately familiar with the neighborhoods in which they work. They thoroughly understand the value of specific features to the people of that area. Then, the appraiser looks up recent sales in close proximity to the subject and finds properties which are 'comparable' to the subject at hand. Using knowledge of the value of certain items such as upgraded appliances, extra bathrooms, additional living area, quality of construction, lot size, we adjust the comparable properties so that they are more accurately in line with the features of a subject.

  • For example, if the comparable property has a fireplace and the subject doesn't, the appraiser may subtract the value of a fireplace 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.

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. When it comes to valuing features of homes in Morrisville and Durham, Appraisals Online, Inc. is second to none. The sales comparison approach to value is typically given the most consideration when an appraisal is for a real estate sale.

Valuation Using the Income Approach

In the case of income producing properties - rental houses for example - the appraiser may use a third method of valuing a house. In this situation, the amount of income the real estate generates is factored in with income produced by nearby properties to determine the current value.

Putting It All Together

Examining the data from all applicable approaches, the appraiser is then ready to stipulate an estimated market value for the property at hand. Note: While the appraised value is probably the strongest indication of what a house is worth, it may not be the price at which the property closes. Depending on the individual situations 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. Regardless, 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. At the end of the day, an appraiser from Appraisals Online, Inc. will help you discover the fairest and balanced property value, so you can make profitable real estate decisions.

Consider valuing your home or investment property for knowing your overall net worth.  After many years in home appraising, I specialize in Mid-Century Modern homes and historic home appraisals, but also have experience in land appraisals, condos, townhomes, modular homes, manufactured homes, new construction, renovation, reverse mortgages for senior citizens, FHA, USDA, and conventional loans.  I can help you with pre-sale valuations for home sellers, pre-purchase for buyers who aren't getting a loan but want to know they aren't paying too much, for equitable division(divorce), relocation, REO(foreclosure, repossessions), and in valuing your portfolio of properties if you are an investor.  Investment property appraisals include not only the sales comparison approach but also the rental comparables and operating income data.  New construction appraisals require the cost approach as well as the sales comparison approach and I use two services for cost data, Marshall & Swift Swiftestimator and HMFacts Cost Data as well as cost data from local builders.   Online ordering is available.

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