Real Property Appraisals: A Primer

Acquiring a home is the biggest transaction some people could ever make. Whether it's a primary residence, a second vacation property or a rental fixer upper, purchasing real property is a complex financial transaction that requires multiple parties to pull it all off.

Most people are familiar with the parties having a role in the transaction. The most recognizable entity in the exchange is the real estate agent. Next, the mortgage company provides the money needed to bankroll the exchange. And the title company ensures that all aspects of the exchange are completed and that the title is clear to pass to the buyer from the seller.

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

So, who's 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 property, where both buyer and seller are informed parties. A licensed, certified, professional appraiser from Edwards Appraisal Service, Inc. will ensure, you as an interested party, are informed.

Appraisals begin with the inspection

To determine the true status of the property, it's our responsibility to first perform a thorough inspection. We must actually view features, such as the number of bedrooms and bathrooms, the location, and so on, to ensure they really are there and are in the condition a reasonable person would expect them to be. To make sure the stated square footage is accurate and convey the layout of the home, the inspection often requires creating a sketch of the floorplan. Most importantly, we identify any obvious features - or defects - that would have an impact on the value of the property.

Following the inspection, we use two or three approaches to determining the value of real property: a sales comparison, a replacement cost calculation, and an income approach when rental properties are prevalent.

Cost Approach

Here, the appraiser gathers information on local building costs, the cost of labor and other elements to calculate how much it would cost to replace the property being appraised. This value usually sets the upper limit on what a property would sell for. The cost approach is also the least used predictor of value.

Analyzing Comparable Sales

Appraisers are intimately familiar with the neighborhoods in which they appraise. They innately understand the value of specific features to the people of that area. Then, the appraiser looks up recent sales in the vicinity and finds properties which are 'comparable' to the subject being appraised. By assigning a dollar value to certain items such as upgraded appliances, additional bathrooms, additional living area, quality of construction, lot size, we adjust the comparable properties so that they more accurately match the features of subject.

  • Say, for example, the comparable has an extra half bath that the subject does not, the appraiser may deduct the value of that half bath from the sales price of the comparable.
  • 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.

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 associating a value with features of homes in Goldsboro and Wayne, Edwards Appraisal Service, Inc. is second to none. This approach to value is most often awarded the most consideration when an appraisal is for a home sale.

Valuation Using the Income Approach

In the case of income producing properties - rental houses for example - we may use an additional way of valuing a property. In this situation, the amount of revenue the real estate generates is factored in with income produced by comparable properties to derive the current value.

The Bottom Line

Analyzing the data from all applicable approaches, the appraiser is then ready to document an estimated market value for the property at hand. It is important to note that while this amount is probably the most reliable indication of what a house is worth, it may not be the price at which the property closes. It's not uncommon for prices to 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 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 sell the property again. The bottom line is, an appraiser from Edwards Appraisal Service, Inc. will guarantee you attain the most accurate property value, so you can make profitable real estate decisions.