What Are the Components of an Appraisal?

Getting real estate can be the largest investment many might ever encounter. It doesn't matter if a primary residence, a second vacation home or one of many rentals, purchasing real property is an involved transaction that requires multiple parties to see it through.

Practically all the participants are quite familiar. The real estate agent is the most familiar face in the exchange. Then, the bank provides the money required to finance the exchange. The title company sees to it that all details of the transaction are completed and that a clear title transfers from the seller to the purchaser.

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So, who makes sure the real estate is worth the purchase price? This is where the appraiser comes in. We provide an unbiased opinion 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 Independent Valuation Services will ensure, you as an interested party, are informed.

Appraisals begin with the property inspection

To determine an accurate status of the property, it's our duty to first conduct a thorough inspection. We must physically view aspects of the property, 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 buyer would expect them to be. The inspection often includes a sketch of the property, ensuring the square footage is correct and conveying the layout of the property. Most importantly, we identify any obvious amenities - or defects - that would affect the value of the property.

Following the inspection, 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 pulls information on local construction 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 estimate commonly 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 innately understand the value of particular features to the people of that area. Then, the appraiser researches recent sales in close proximity to the subject and finds properties which are 'comparable' to the subject at hand. By assigning a dollar value to certain items such as upgraded appliances, extra bathrooms, additional living area, quality of construction, lot size, we add or subtract from each comparable's sales price so that they more accurately match the features of subject.

  • If, for example, the comparable has an irrigation system and the subject doesn't, the appraiser may subtract the value of an irrigation system from the sales price of the comparable.
  • But, 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.

An opinion 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 value of features of homes in Prior Lake and Scott, Independent Valuation Services is second to none. This approach to value is typically given 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 method of valuing a house. In this scenario, the amount of income the property produces is factored in with income produced by neighboring properties to determine the current value.

Reconciliation

Analyzing the data from all approaches, the appraiser is then ready to document an estimated market value for the property at hand. Note: While this amount is probably the best indication of what a property is worth, it probably will not be the final sales price. Depending on the specific 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.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 Independent Valuation Services will guarantee you discover the most fair and balanced property value, so you can make profitable real estate decisions.