What Goes Into an Appraisal?

Purchasing a house is the largest financial decision many people will ever make. It doesn't matter if a primary residence, a seasonal vacation property or an investment, purchasing real property is an involved transaction that requires multiple parties to pull it all off.

Practically all the parties involved are quite familiar. The real estate agent is the most recognizable entity in the transaction. Next, the mortgage company provides the money required to finance the exchange. And ensuring all details of the sale are completed and that a clear title passes to the buyer from the seller is the title company.

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So, who's 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 parcel of real estate, where both buyer and seller are informed parties. A licensed, certified, professional appraiser from Mike Noble Appraisals will ensure, you as an interested party, are informed.

The inspection is where an appraisal starts

To ascertain the true status of the property, it's our responsibility to first complete a thorough inspection. We must see features hands on, such as the number of bedrooms and bathrooms, the location, and so on, to ensure they truly are present and are in the condition a typical person would expect them to be. The inspection often includes a sketch of the house, ensuring the square footage is accurate and conveying the layout of the property. Most importantly, we look for any obvious amenities - or defects - that would have an impact on the value of the property.

After the inspection, we use two or three approaches to determining the value of the property: a sales comparison, a replacement cost calculation, and an income approach when rental properties are prevalent.

Cost Approach

Here, we gather information on local building costs, the cost of labor and other elements to determine how much it would cost to construct a property nearly identical to the one being appraised. This value often sets the upper limit on what a property would sell for. The cost approach is also the least used method.

Sales Comparison

Appraisers become very familiar with the neighborhoods in which they work. They innately understand the value of certain 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 in question. By assigning a dollar value to certain items such as fireplaces, room layout, appliance upgrades, additional bathrooms or bedrooms, or quality of construction, we adjust the comparable properties so that they more accurately portray the features of subject property.

  • For example, if the comparable has a storm shelter and the subject doesn't, the appraiser may deduct the value of a storm shelter 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.

After all differences have been accounted for, 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 putting a value on features of homes in Montgomery and Elmore, Mike Noble Appraisals can't be beat. The sales comparison approach to value is typically given the most weight when an appraisal is for a real estate purchase.

Valuation Using the Income Approach

A third method of valuing a house is sometimes employed when a neighborhood has a reasonable number of rental properties. In this situation, the amount of revenue the real estate yields is taken into consideration along with other rents in the area for comparable 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 subject property. The estimate of value at the bottom of the appraisal report is not always the final sales price even though it is likely the best indication of a property's valueDepending 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.But the appraised value is often employed as a guideline for lenders who don't want to loan a buyer more money than the property is actually worth. The bottom line is, an appraiser from Mike Noble Appraisals will help you attain the most fair and balanced property value, so you can make profitable real estate decisions.