Real Estate Appraisals: A Primer

Purchasing a house can be the largest financial decision most of us will ever make. It doesn't matter if a primary residence, a second vacation home or one of many rentals, the purchase of real property is a detailed transaction that requires multiple people working in concert to see it through.

Most of the parties involved are very familiar. The most recognizable face in the exchange is the real estate agent. Then, the lender provides the money needed to bankroll the transaction. The title company sees to it that all areas of the exchange are completed and that a clear title transfers from the seller to the buyer.

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 is responsible for making sure the value of the real estate is consistent with the amount being paid? In comes the appraiser. We provide an unbiased opinion of what a buyer could 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 REMACE, LTD. will ensure, you as an interested party, are informed.

The inspection is where an appraisal starts

To determine an accurate status of the property, it's our duty to first perform a thorough inspection. We must see features first hand, such as the number of bedrooms and bathrooms, the location, living areas, etc, to ensure they indeed are there and are in the shape a typical person would expect them to be. To make sure the stated size of the property is accurate and document the layout of the house, the inspection often includes creating a sketch of the floorplan. Most importantly, we identify any obvious features - or defects - that would affect the value of the house.

Back at the office, we use two or three approaches to determining the value of real property: sales comparison and, in the case of a rental property, an income approach.

Replacement Cost

Here, we use information on local construction costs, labor rates and other elements to figure out how much it would cost to construct a property nearly identical to the one being appraised. This value often sets the maximum on what a property would sell for. It's also the least used predictor of value.

Analyzing Comparable Sales

Appraisers become very familiar with the subdivisions in which they appraise. They innately understand the value of specific features to the homeowners of that area. Then, the appraiser looks up recent transactions in close proximity to the subject and finds properties which are 'comparable' to the subject in question. 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.

  • If, for example, the comparable has a storm shelter and the subject doesn't, the appraiser may subtract the value of a storm shelter 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.

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 valuing features of homes in York and York, REMACE, LTD. can't be beat. The sales comparison approach to value is most often given the most importance when an appraisal is for a home purchase.

Valuation Using the Income Approach

In the case of income producing properties - rental houses for example - we may use an additional approach to value. In this situation, the amount of income the property yields is taken into consideration along with income produced by nearby properties to determine the current value.

Coming Up With The Final Value

Combining information from all approaches, the appraiser is then ready to document an estimated market value for the property in question. It is important to note that while this amount is probably the best indication of what a property is worth, it may not be the price at which the property closes. 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.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. Here's what it all boils down to, an appraiser from REMACE, LTD. will guarantee you get the most accurate property value, so you can make profitable real estate decisions.