Real Property Appraisals: A Primer
Getting a home can be the largest transaction some will ever encounter. It doesn't matter if where you raise your family, an additional vacation home or one of many rentals, purchasing real property is a complex financial transaction that requires multiple parties to see it through.
The majority of the people participating are quite familiar. The real estate agent is the most familiar entity in the exchange. Next, the lender provides the financial capital required to bankroll the transaction. And the title company sees to it that all requirements of the sale are completed and that the title is clear to transfer from the seller to the purchaser.
So, what party is responsible for making sure the value of the property is consistent with the purchase price? In comes 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 A & B Tax Service will ensure, you as an interested party, are informed.
Appraisals begin with the property inspection
To determine an accurate status of the property, it's our duty to first complete a thorough inspection. We must actually view features, such as the number of bedrooms and bathrooms, the location, living areas, etc, to ensure they indeed are present and are in the shape a reasonable buyer would expect them to be. To ensure the stated size of the property has not been misrepresented and convey the layout of the home, the inspection often requires creating a sketch of the floorplan. Most importantly, we identify any obvious features - or defects - that would affect the value of the house.
Back at the office, an appraiser uses two or three approaches to determining the value of real property: sales comparison and, in the case of a rental property, an income approach.
This is where the appraiser pulls information on local building costs, the cost of labor and other factors to ascertain how much it would cost to replace the property being appraised. This figure usually sets the maximum on what a property would sell for. The cost approach is also the least used method.
Paired Sales Analysis
Appraisers are intimately familiar with the neighborhoods in which they appraise. They innately understand the value of specific features to the homeowners of that area. Then, the appraiser looks up recent transactions in the neighborhood and finds properties which are 'comparable' to the real estate being appraised. Using knowledge of the value of certain items such as remodeled rooms, types of flooring, energy efficient items, patios and porches, or extra storage space, we adjust the comparable properties so that they more accurately match the features of subject.
After all differences have been accounted for, 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 valuing features of homes in Sturtevant and Racine, A & B Tax Service can't be beat. This approach to value is most often given the most importance when an appraisal is for a real estate exchange.
Valuation Using the Income Approach
A third method of valuing a house is sometimes used when an area has a reasonable number of rental properties. In this scenario, the amount of income the real estate generates is factored in with other rents in the area for comparable properties to determine the current value.
Putting It All Together
Combining information from all applicable approaches, the appraiser is then ready to stipulate an estimated market value for the property in question. The estimate of value on the appraisal report is not necessarily the final sales price even though it is likely the best indication of what a property is worth. There 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 used as a guideline for lenders who don't want to loan a buyer more money than the property is actually worth. At the end of the day, an appraiser from A & B Tax Service will help you get the most accurate property value, so you can make profitable real estate decisions.