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Making Sense of the Appraisal Process

Their home's purchase can be the most important investment most could ever consider. Whether it's a main residence, an additional vacation property or one of many rentals, the purchase of real property is an involved transaction that requires multiple people working in concert to pull it all off.

You're probably familiar with the parties having a role in the transaction. The real estate agent is the most recognizable entity in the exchange. Next, the lender provides the money needed to finance the transaction. The title company ensures that all details of the transaction are completed and that a clear title passes 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, who's responsible for making sure the real estate is worth the purchase price? This is where you meet 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 ASAP Appraisal Group will ensure, you as an interested party, are informed.

Inspecting the subject property

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, and so on, to ensure they really exist and are in the shape a reasonable buyer would expect them to be. The inspection often includes a sketch of the house, ensuring the square footage is proper and conveying the layout of the property. Most importantly, we look for any obvious amenities - 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 the property: sales comparison and, in the case of a rental property, an income approach.

Replacement Cost

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

Sales Comparison

Appraisers are intimately familiar with the subdivisions in which they appraise. They thoroughly understand the value of particular features to the people of that area. Then, the appraiser looks up recent transactions in the area and finds properties which are 'comparable' to the real estate 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 match the features of subject.

  • If, for example, the comparable property has a fireplace and the subject does not, the appraiser may deduct the value of a fireplace from the sales price of the comparable home.
  • However, 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 knowing the true worth of features of homes in Lakeland and Polk, ASAP Appraisal Group is second to none. The sales comparison approach to value is typically awarded the most importance when an appraisal is for a real estate sale.

Valuation Using the Income Approach

A third method of valuing a property is sometimes used when a neighborhood has a measurable number of renter occupied properties. In this scenario, the amount of income the real estate yields is factored in with income produced by nearby properties to derive the current value.

Coming Up With The Final Value

Combining information from all approaches, the appraiser is then ready to state an estimated market value for the property at hand. The estimate of value on the appraisal report is not necessarily 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 the final price up or down. But the appraised value is typically employed 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 ASAP Appraisal Group will help you discover the most accurate property value, so you can make the most informed real estate decisions.