What Is an Appraisal?

Acquiring a house is the most serious financial decision many may ever make. It doesn't matter if where you raise your family, a second vacation home or one of many rentals, the purchase of real property is a complex financial transaction that requires multiple people working in concert to pull it all off.

The majority of the parties involved are quite familiar. The real estate agent is the most familiar entity in the exchange. Next, the bank provides the money necessary to finance the exchange. And ensuring all requirements of the transaction are completed and that a clear title transfers to the buyer from the seller is the title company.

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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 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 Appraiser One Real Estate Network (805) 388-5507 will ensure, you as an interested party, are informed.

The inspection is where an appraisal starts

To determine the true status of the property, it's our duty to first complete a thorough inspection. We must actually see aspects of the property, such as the number of bedrooms and bathrooms, the location, amenities, etc., to ensure they truly are present and are in the condition a typical buyer would expect them to be. To make sure the stated square footage is accurate and convey the layout of the property, the inspection often includes 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 house.

Back at the office, 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

Here, the appraiser uses information on local building costs, labor rates and other elements to derive how much it would cost to replace the property being appraised. This estimate commonly sets the upper limit on what a property would sell for. It's also the least used predictor of value.

Sales Comparison

Appraisers get to know the subdivisions in which they appraise. They innately understand the value of certain features to the homeowners of that area. Then, the appraiser researches recent sales in close proximity to the subject and finds properties which are 'comparable' to the real estate in question. Using knowledge of the value of certain items such as fireplaces, room layout, appliance upgrades, additional bathrooms or bedrooms, or quality of construction, we add or subtract from each comparable's sales price so that they are more accurately in line with the features of subject.

  • If, for example, the comparable property has a storm shelter and the subject does not, the appraiser may deduct the value of a storm shelter 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.

A true estimate of what the subject could sell for can only be determined once all differences between the comps and the subject have been evaluated. At Appraiser One Real Estate Network (805) 388-5507, we are experts in knowing the worth of real estate features in Camarillo and Ventura County neighborhoods. This approach to value is typically awarded the most importance when an appraisal is for a home purchase.

Valuation Using the Income Approach

A third method of valuing a property is sometimes employed when an area has a measurable number of rental properties. In this case, the amount of revenue the real estate yields is taken into consideration along with other rents in the area for comparable properties to derive the current value.

Putting It All Together

Combining information from all applicable approaches, the appraiser is then ready to document an estimated market value for the subject property. The estimate of value on the appraisal report is not always the final sales price even though it is likely the best indication of a property's valueThere are always mitigating factors such as seller motivation, urgency or 'bidding wars' that may adjust the final price 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 the property is actually worth. It all comes down to this, an appraiser from Appraiser One Real Estate Network (805) 388-5507 will help you get the most fair and balanced property value, so you can make the most informed real estate decisions.