What Goes Into an Appraisal?

Acquiring real estate is the most serious financial decision many of us could ever encounter. It doesn't matter if where you raise your family, an additional vacation home or a rental fixer upper, the purchase of real property is a detailed financial transaction that requires multiple parties to pull it all off.

The majority of the participants are quite familiar. The real estate agent is the most known face in the exchange. Next, the lender provides the money necessary to finance the exchange. And the title company makes sure that all details of the transaction are completed and that the title is clear to transfer 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 real estate is worth the amount being paid? In comes the appraiser. We provide an unbiased estimate 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 Piscitelli Appraisal Service will ensure, you as an interested party, are informed.

Inspecting the subject property

Our first responsibility at Piscitelli Appraisal Service is to inspect the property to determine its true status. We must see features hands on, such as the number of bedrooms and bathrooms, the location, living areas, etc, to ensure they truly are there and are in the shape a reasonable person would expect them to be. To make sure the stated square footage has not been misrepresented and describe the layout of the house, the inspection often requires creating a sketch of the floorplan. Most importantly, we identify any obvious amenities - or defects - that would affect the value of the house.

After the inspection, an appraiser uses 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

This is where we pull information on local construction costs, labor rates and other elements to ascertain how much it would cost to replace the property being appraised. This figure commonly sets the maximum on what a property would sell for. The cost approach is also the least used predictor of value.

Sales Comparison

Appraisers get to know the communities in which they appraise. They thoroughly understand the value of specific features to the people of that area. Then, the appraiser looks up recent sales in the neighborhood and finds properties which are 'comparable' to the home being appraised. 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 more accurately match the features of subject property.

  • For example, if the comparable has a fireplace and the subject doesn't, the appraiser may subtract the value of a fireplace 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.

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 Piscitelli Appraisal Service, we are an authority when it comes to knowing the value of real estate features in Oak Park and Ventura County neighborhoods. This approach to value is commonly awarded the most consideration when an appraisal is for a real estate purchase.

Valuation Using the Income Approach

In the case of income producing properties - rental houses for example - the appraiser may use a third approach to value. In this scenario, the amount of income the real estate yields is taken into consideration along with other rents in the area for comparable properties to give an indicator of the current value.

Putting It All Together

Examining the data from all approaches, the appraiser is then ready to state an estimated market value for the property in question. 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. 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 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. At the end of the day, an appraiser from Piscitelli Appraisal Service will help you discover the most accurate property value, so you can make profitable real estate decisions.