profile picture

Comprehending Appraisals

Buying real estate can be the most significant transaction most people may ever make. Whether it's where you raise your family, a second vacation property or a rental fixer upper, the purchase of real property is a detailed financial transaction that requires multiple parties to pull it all off.

You're probably familiar with the parties taking part in the transaction. The real estate agent is the most familiar person in the transaction. Then, the mortgage company provides the money necessary to finance the deal. And ensuring all aspects of the sale are completed and that a clear title transfers from the seller to the buyer is the title company.

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 makes sure the real estate is worth the amount being paid? This is where the appraiser comes in. We provide an unbiased opinion of what a buyer could 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 Enslen Appraisal Services, LLC will ensure, you as an interested party, are informed.

Inspecting the subject property

To determine an accurate status of the property, it's our duty to first perform a thorough inspection. We must physically see aspects of the property, such as the number of bedrooms and bathrooms, the location, living areas, etc, to ensure they really are there and are in the shape a reasonable person would expect them to be. The inspection often includes a sketch of the property, ensuring the square footage is correct and illustrating the layout of the property. Most importantly, we look for any obvious amenities - or defects - that would have an impact on the value of the house.

Once the site has been inspected, an appraiser uses two or three approaches to determining the value of the property: sales comparison and, in the case of a rental property, an income approach.

Cost Approach

Here, we pull information on local construction costs, the cost of labor and other factors to figure out how much it would cost to replace the property being appraised. This figure often sets the upper limit on what a property would sell for. The cost approach is also the least used predictor of value.

Paired Sales Analysis

Appraisers are intimately familiar with the communities in which they work. They innately understand the value of specific features to the residents of that area. Then, the appraiser researches recent transactions in the area and finds properties which are 'comparable' to the property at hand. 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 property.

  • If, for example, the comparable 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.
  • If the subject property has an extra half-bathroom and the comparable does not, the appraiser might add an amount 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 Enslen Appraisal Services, LLC, we are an authority in knowing the value of particular items in Montgomery and Montgomery County neighborhoods. This approach to value is typically awarded the most consideration when an appraisal is for a real estate exchange.

Valuation Using the Income Approach

A third method of valuing a house is sometimes employed when a neighborhood has a measurable number of renter occupied properties. In this scenario, the amount of revenue the property generates is factored in with other rents in the area for comparable properties to derive the current value.

The Bottom Line

Examining the data from all applicable approaches, the appraiser is then ready to document an estimated market value for the property in question. It is important to note that while the appraised value is probably the most reliable indication of what a house is worth, it probably will not be the price at which the property closes. Depending on the specific circumstances 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 used as a guideline for lenders who don't want to loan a buyer more money than they could get back in the event they had to sell the property again. Here's what it all boils down to, an appraiser from Enslen Appraisal Services, LLC will help you discover the most accurate property value, so you can make the most informed real estate decisions.

Got a Question?

Do you have a question relating to real estate appraisals? We can help. Simply fill out the form below and we'll contact you with the answer, with no obligation to you. We guarantee your privacy.

Information
Question