Real Estate Appraisals: A Primer

Acquiring a house can be the biggest financial decision some of us will ever encounter. Whether it's where you raise your family, a seasonal vacation home or an investment, the purchase of real property is a detailed transaction that requires multiple parties to see it through.

Most of the participants are very familiar. The most known person in the exchange is the real estate agent. Next, the lender provides the financial capital needed to finance the transaction. The title company sees to it that all aspects of the transaction are completed and that the title is clear to pass to the buyer from the seller.

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 property is worth 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 Piscitelli Appraisal Service will ensure, you as an interested party, are informed.

The inspection is where an appraisal begins

To determine the true status of the property, it's our responsibility to first complete a thorough inspection. We must see aspects of the property first hand, such as the number of bedrooms and bathrooms, the location, and so on, to ensure they truly exist and are in the shape a reasonable buyer would expect them to be. To ensure the stated square footage has not been misrepresented and convey the layout of the property, the inspection often entails creating a sketch of the floorplan. Most importantly, the appraiser identifies any obvious amenities - or defects - that would have an impact on the value of the property.

Once the site has been inspected, an appraiser uses two or three approaches to determining the value of the property: paired sales analysis and, in the case of a rental property, an income approach.

Cost Approach

This is where we gather information on local construction costs, the cost of labor and other elements to ascertain how much it would cost to replace the property being appraised. This estimate commonly sets the maximum on what a property would sell for. It's also the least used method.

Analyzing Comparable Sales

Appraisers get to know the neighborhoods in which they work. They innately understand the value of certain features to the homeowners of that area. Then, the appraiser researches recent transactions in the vicinity and finds properties which are 'comparable' to the property being appraised. 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 are more accurately in line with 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 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.

A true estimate of what the subject might sell for can only be determined once all differences between the comps and the subject have been evaluated. When it comes to associating a value with features of homes in Oak Park and Ventura, Piscitelli Appraisal Service can't be beat. The sales comparison approach to value is most often awarded the most consideration when an appraisal is for a real estate purchase.

Valuation Using the Income Approach

A third method of valuing approach to value is sometimes used when a neighborhood has a measurable number of renter occupied properties. In this situation, the amount of income the real estate generates is factored in with other rents in the area for comparable properties to derive the current value.

Reconciliation

Combining information from all approaches, the appraiser is then ready to put down an estimated market value for the property at hand. 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 what a property is worth. Prices can always be driven up or down by extenuating circumstances like the motivation or urgency of a seller or 'bidding wars'. But the appraised value is typically 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 Piscitelli Appraisal Service will guarantee you attain the most fair and balanced property value, so you can make profitable real estate decisions.