Real Property Appraisals: A Primer

Their home's purchase is the most significant financial decision most could ever consider. Whether it's where you raise your family, a second vacation property or a rental fixer upper, the purchase of real property is a complex financial transaction that requires multiple parties to make it all happen.

Most people are familiar with the parties having a role in the transaction. The most recognizable person in the exchange is the real estate agent. Then, the mortgage company provides the financial capital required to fund the exchange. And the title company ensures that all requirements of the exchange are completed and that the title is clear to pass 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 property is in line with the amount being paid? In comes 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 Piscitelli Appraisal Service 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 duty to first conduct 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 exist and are in the condition a reasonable buyer would expect them to be. To make sure the stated square footage is accurate and document the layout of the house, the inspection often requires creating a sketch of the floorplan. Most importantly, the appraiser looks for any obvious features - or defects - that would affect the value of the property.

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

Cost Approach

This is where the appraiser pulls information on local construction costs, the cost of labor and other elements to ascertain how much it would cost to construct a property nearly identical to the one being appraised. This value commonly sets the maximum on what a property would sell for. It's also the least used predictor of value.

Paired Sales Analysis

Appraisers can tell you a lot about the neighborhoods in which they appraise. They innately understand the value of particular 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 home being appraised. By assigning a dollar value to certain items such as square footage, extra bathrooms, hardwood floors, fireplaces or view lots (just to name a few), we adjust the comparable properties so that they are more accurately in line with the features of subject.

  • If, for example, the comparable property has an extra half bath that the subject does not, the appraiser may deduct the value of that half bath 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.

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 experts when it comes to knowing the worth of real estate features in and Ventura County neighborhoods. The sales comparison approach to value is usually awarded the most weight when an appraisal is for a home 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 case, the amount of revenue the real estate generates is taken into consideration along with other rents in the area for comparable properties to determine the current value.

Reconciliation

Analyzing the data from all applicable approaches, the appraiser is then ready to stipulate an estimated market value for the property in question. It is important to note that while the appraised value is probably the best indication of what a house is worth, it may not be the final sales price. There are always mitigating factors such as the seller's desire to get out of the property, urgency or 'bidding wars' that may adjust an offer or listing price up or down. Regardless, the appraised value is typically used as a guideline for lenders who don't want to loan a buyer more money than the property is actually worth. It all comes down to this, an appraiser from Piscitelli Appraisal Service will guarantee you get the most accurate property value, so you can make wise real estate decisions.