Understanding Appraisals

Acquiring a home can be the largest investment some of us will ever make. It doesn't matter if a main residence, a seasonal vacation home or an investment, the purchase of real property is a detailed financial transaction that requires multiple parties to see it through.

It's likely you are familiar with the parties having a role in the transaction. The most known face in the exchange is the real estate agent. Next, the bank provides the money needed to fund the exchange. And ensuring all aspects of the sale are completed and that a clear title passes to the buyer from the seller 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, what party makes sure the real estate is worth the amount being paid? This is where you meet the appraiser. We provide an unbiased opinion of what a buyer could 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.

Inspecting the subject property

To ascertain the true status of the property, it's our responsibility to first complete a thorough inspection. We must actually view aspects of the property, such as the number of bedrooms and bathrooms, the location, living areas, etc, to ensure they really exist and are in the shape a typical buyer would expect them to be. To ensure the stated size of the property is accurate and document the layout of the property, the inspection often requires creating a sketch of the floorplan. Most importantly, we look for any obvious amenities - or defects - that would have an impact on the value of the property.

Following the inspection, an appraiser uses 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.

Replacement Cost

Here, the appraiser pulls information on local building costs, the cost of labor and other factors to calculate how much it would cost to build a property similar to the one being appraised. This figure often sets the upper limit on what a property would sell for. The cost approach is also the least used predictor of value.

Paired Sales Analysis

Appraisers get to know the neighborhoods in which they work. They thoroughly understand the value of specific features to the homeowners of that area. Then, the appraiser researches recent sales in the vicinity and finds properties which are 'comparable' to the property 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 are more accurately in line with the features of subject property.

  • If, for example, the comparable property has a fireplace and the subject does not, the appraiser may subtract the value of a fireplace from the sales price of the comparable home.
  • However, if the subject property 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 might sell for can only be determined once all differences between the comps and the subject have been evaluated. At Edwards Appraisal Service, Inc., we are experts in knowing the worth of particular items in Goldsboro and Wayne County neighborhoods. The sales comparison approach to value is most often given the most importance when an appraisal is for a home sale.

Valuation Using the Income Approach

In the case of income producing properties - rental houses for example - the appraiser may use a third way of valuing a house. In this scenario, the amount of revenue the real estate yields is factored in with other rents in the area for comparable properties to determine the current value.

Arriving at a Value Conclusion

Analyzing the data from all approaches, the appraiser is then ready to stipulate an estimated market value for the subject property. Note: While the appraised value is probably the most reliable indication of what a house is worth, it may not be the final sales price. Prices can always be driven up or down by extenuating circumstances like the motivation or urgency of a seller or 'bidding wars'. But the appraised value is typically used as a guideline for lenders who don't want to loan a buyer more money than the property is actually worth. At the end of the day, an appraiser from Edwards Appraisal Service, Inc. will guarantee you discover the most fair and balanced property value, so you can make the most informed real estate decisions.