Understanding the Appraisal Process

Getting a home is the most important transaction many of us may ever consider. Whether it's where you raise your family, a seasonal vacation home or an investment, purchasing real property is a detailed financial transaction that requires multiple parties to make it all happen.

Practically all the participants are quite familiar. The most known face in the transaction is the real estate agent. Then, the mortgage company provides the money necessary to bankroll the transaction. And the title company makes sure that all aspects of the sale 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 value of the real estate is consistent with the purchase price? This is where you meet the appraiser. We provide an unbiased estimate of what a buyer might expect to pay — or a seller receive — for a property, where both buyer and seller are informed parties. A licensed, certified, professional appraiser from Graham Appraisal will ensure, you as an interested party, are informed.

Appraisals start with the inspection

Our first duty at Graham Appraisal is to inspect the property to determine its true status. We must see aspects of the property hands on, such as the number of bedrooms and bathrooms, the location, living areas, etc, to ensure they indeed are there and are in the shape a typical buyer would expect them to be. To make sure the stated size of the property is accurate and describe the layout of the property, the inspection often requires creating a sketch of the floorplan. Most importantly, we look for any obvious features - or defects - that would have an impact on the value of the property.

Back at the office, we use two or three approaches to determining the value of real property: a paired sales analysis, a replacement cost calculation, and an income approach when rental properties are prevalent.

Cost Approach

This is where the appraiser gathers information on local construction costs, labor rates and other factors to calculate how much it would cost to construct a property similar to the one being appraised. This estimate 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 become very familiar with the communities in which they work. They thoroughly understand the value of certain features to the homeowners of that area. Then, the appraiser researches recent sales in the neighborhood and finds properties which are 'comparable' to the subject at hand. By assigning a dollar value to certain items such as upgraded appliances, extra bathrooms, additional living area, quality of construction, lot size, we adjust the comparable properties so that they more accurately portray the features of subject.

  • Say, for example, the comparable property has an extra half bath that the subject does not, the appraiser may subtract the value of that half bath from the sales price of the comparable.
  • However, if the subject has an extra half-bathroom and the comparable does not, the appraiser might add a certain amount to the comparable property.

In the end, 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 associating a value with features of homes in Glasgow and Barren, Graham Appraisal can't be beat. This approach to value is usually awarded the most consideration when an appraisal is for a real estate purchase.

Valuation Using the Income Approach

A third method of valuing real estate is sometimes used when a neighborhood has a reasonable number of rental properties. In this scenario, the amount of revenue the real estate generates is factored in with income produced by nearby properties to give an indicator of the current value.

The Bottom Line

Analyzing the data from all applicable approaches, the appraiser is then ready to state an estimated market value for the property in question. The estimate of value at the bottom of the appraisal report is not necessarily the final sales price even though it is likely the best indication of what a property is worth. It's not uncommon for prices to 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 they could get back in case they had to sell the property again. It all comes down to this, an appraiser from Graham Appraisal will help you attain the most accurate property value, so you can make wise real estate decisions.