Comprehending Appraisals

Getting a house can be the most significant transaction some of us could ever make. Whether it's where you raise your family, a second vacation home or a rental fixer upper, purchasing real property is an involved transaction that requires multiple parties to see it through.

Most people are familiar with the parties having a role in the transaction. The most familiar face in the exchange is the real estate agent. Next, the mortgage company provides the financial capital necessary to finance the transaction. And ensuring all requirements of the exchange are completed and that a clear title transfers 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 value of the property is consistent with 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 parcel of real estate, where both buyer and seller are informed parties. A licensed, certified, professional appraiser from Appraisal Studio will ensure, you as an interested party, are informed.

The inspection is where an appraisal begins

Our first duty at Appraisal Studio is to inspect the property to determine its true status. We must see aspects of the property first hand, such as the number of bedrooms and bathrooms, the location, living areas, etc, to ensure they truly are there and are in the condition a reasonable person would expect them to be. To ensure the stated square footage is accurate and illustrate the layout of the house, the inspection often includes creating a sketch of the floorplan. Most importantly, we look for any obvious amenities - or defects - that would affect the value of the house.

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.

Cost Approach

This is where we gather information on local construction costs, labor rates and other factors to ascertain how much it would cost to replace the property being appraised. This figure commonly sets the maximum on what a property would sell for. It's also the least used method.

Sales Comparison

Appraisers become very familiar with the neighborhoods in which they appraise. They innately understand the value of certain features to the residents of that area. Then, the appraiser looks up recent sales in the vicinity and finds properties which are 'comparable' to the real estate being appraised. Using knowledge of the value of certain items such as fireplaces, room layout, appliance upgrades, additional bathrooms or bedrooms, or quality of construction, we add or subtract from each comparable's sales price so that they more accurately portray the features of subject.

  • Say, for example, 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.
  • 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 true 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 Appraisal Studio, we are an authority when it comes to knowing the worth of particular items in Tallahassee and Leon County neighborhoods. The sales comparison approach to value is most often given the most importance 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 an additional approach to value. In this scenario, the amount of income the real estate yields is factored in with income produced by similar properties to give an indicator of the current value.

Arriving at a Value Conclusion

Examining the data from all applicable approaches, the appraiser is then ready to state an estimated market value for the property at hand. It is important to note that while this amount is probably the most accurate indication of what a house is worth, it may 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 the final price up or down. But the appraised value is often 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 put the property on the market again. The bottom line is, an appraiser from Appraisal Studio will guarantee you discover the most fair and balanced property value, so you can make profitable real estate decisions.