What Goes Into an Appraisal?

Their home's purchase can be the biggest financial decision most people will ever consider. Whether it's where you raise your family, an additional vacation property or a rental fixer upper, the purchase of real property is a detailed transaction that requires multiple parties to pull it all off.

Practically all the parties involved are very familiar. The most familiar face in the exchange is the real estate agent. Then, the bank provides the money needed to finance the deal. And ensuring all aspects of the transaction are completed and that the title is clear to transfer to the buyer from the seller is the title company.

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So, what party is responsible for making sure the value of the property is in line with the purchase price? In comes the appraiser. We provide an unbiased estimate 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 Choice Appraisals, Inc. will ensure, you as an interested party, are informed.

Inspecting the subject property

To ascertain an accurate status of the property, it's our responsibility to first conduct a thorough inspection. We must physically see aspects of the property, such as the number of bedrooms and bathrooms, the location, amenities, etc., to ensure they indeed are present and are in the condition a typical person would expect them to be. To ensure the stated square footage has not been misrepresented and convey the layout of the house, the inspection often entails creating a sketch of the floorplan. Most importantly, the appraiser identifies any obvious features - or defects - that would have an impact on the value of the property.

Once the site has been inspected, we use two or three approaches to determining the value of the property: sales comparison and, in the case of a rental property, an income approach.

Replacement Cost

This is where we pull information on local building costs, labor rates and other elements to figure out how much it would cost to replace the property being appraised. This estimate usually sets the upper limit on what a property would sell for. The cost approach is also the least used method.

Paired Sales Analysis

Appraisers become very familiar with the communities in which they appraise. They innately understand the value of particular features to the residents 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. By assigning a dollar value to certain items such as fireplaces, room layout, appliance upgrades, extra 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 property.

  • For example, if the comparable 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.

Once all necessary adjustments have been made, 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 associating a value with features of homes in Newbury Park and Ventura, Choice Appraisals, Inc. can't be beat. This approach to value is usually given the most consideration when an appraisal is for a home exchange.

Valuation Using the Income Approach

In the case of income producing properties - rental houses for example - we may use a third approach to value. In this scenario, the amount of revenue the real estate generates is factored in with income produced by similar properties to determine the current value.

Coming Up With The Final Value

Examining the data from all applicable approaches, the appraiser is then ready to document an estimated market value for the subject property. The estimate of value at the bottom of the appraisal report is not always what's being paid for the property even though it is likely the best indication of what a property is worth. There are always mitigating factors such as the seller's desire to get out of the property, urgency or 'bidding wars' that may adjust an offer or listing price 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 they could recover in the event they had to put the property on the market again. Here's what it all boils down to, an appraiser from Choice Appraisals, Inc. will guarantee you discover the most accurate property value, so you can make the most informed real estate decisions.