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What Are the Parts of an Appraisal?

Acquiring real estate can be the most important financial decision most could ever make. It doesn't matter if where you raise your family, a seasonal vacation home or a rental fixer upper, the purchase of real property is a detailed transaction that requires multiple people working in concert to see it through.

Practically all the people involved are quite familiar. The real estate agent is the most recognizable face in the exchange. Next, the mortgage company provides the money needed to fund the exchange. And ensuring all details of the transaction 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, who's responsible for making sure the value of the real estate is consistent with 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 parcel of real estate, where both buyer and seller are informed parties. A licensed, certified, professional appraiser from ASAP Appraisal Group will ensure, you as an interested party, are informed.

Appraisals begin with the inspection

Our first duty at ASAP Appraisal Group is to inspect the property to ascertain its true status. We must see features hands on, such as the number of bedrooms and bathrooms, the location, amenities, etc., to ensure they really are there and are in the shape a typical buyer would expect them to be. To ensure the stated size of the property is accurate and convey the layout of the home, the inspection often entails creating a sketch of the floorplan. Most importantly, the appraiser identifies any obvious amenities - or defects - that would affect the value of the house.

After the inspection, 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

Here, the appraiser gathers information on local construction costs, the cost of labor and other factors to calculate how much it would cost to replace the property being appraised. This value often 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 get to know the communities in which they appraise. They thoroughly understand the value of specific features to the residents of that area. Then, the appraiser researches recent sales in close proximity to the subject and finds properties which are 'comparable' to the home at hand. Using knowledge of the value of certain items such as square footage, additional bathrooms, hardwood floors, fireplaces or view lots (just to name a few), we add or subtract from each comparable's sales price so that they are more accurately in line with the features of subject property.

  • Say, for example, the comparable property has an irrigation system and the subject does not, the appraiser may subtract the value of an irrigation system from the sales price of the comparable home.
  • 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.

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. At ASAP Appraisal Group, we are an authority when it comes to knowing the value of real estate features in Lakeland and Polk County neighborhoods. This approach to value is most often given the most consideration when an appraisal is for a real estate sale.

Valuation Using the Income Approach

A third method of valuing real estate is sometimes applied when a neighborhood has a measurable number of renter occupied properties. In this case, the amount of revenue the property yields is taken into consideration along with income produced by neighboring properties to derive the current value.

The Bottom Line

Combining information from all applicable approaches, the appraiser is then ready to document an estimated market value for the subject property. It is important to note that while this amount is probably the most reliable indication of what a house is worth, it probably will not be the price at which the property closes. Depending on the individual 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.Regardless, 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 case they had to sell the property again. The bottom line is, an appraiser from ASAP Appraisal Group will help you get the most accurate property value, so you can make the most informed real estate decisions.