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What Goes Into an Appraisal?

Purchasing a home is the biggest investment most people may ever encounter. Whether it's where you raise your family, a seasonal vacation home or one of many rentals, the purchase of real property is an involved financial transaction that requires multiple people working in concert to make it all happen.

The majority of the parties participating are very familiar. The real estate agent is the most familiar face in the transaction. Next, the lender provides the money required to fund the transaction. And ensuring all requirements of the exchange are completed and that the title is clear to transfer to the buyer from the seller 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, who makes sure the property is worth the purchase price? 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 Enslen Appraisal Services, LLC will ensure, you as an interested party, are informed.

Appraisals start with the property inspection

To ascertain an accurate status of the property, it's our duty to first complete a thorough inspection. We must physically view aspects of the property, such as the number of bedrooms and bathrooms, the location, amenities, etc., to ensure they indeed are present and are in the condition a typical buyer would expect them to be. To ensure the stated size of the property has not been misrepresented and describe the layout of the property, the inspection often requires creating a sketch of the floorplan. Most importantly, the appraiser looks for any obvious amenities - 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: a paired sales analysis, a replacement cost calculation, and an income approach when rental properties are prevalent.

Replacement Cost

Here, the appraiser gathers information on local construction costs, labor rates and other factors to figure out how much it would cost to construct a property similar to the one being appraised. This estimate commonly sets the upper limit on what a property would sell for. The cost approach is also the least used method.

Paired Sales Analysis

Appraisers get to know the neighborhoods 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 close proximity to the subject and finds properties which are 'comparable' to the property in question. By assigning a dollar value to certain items such as upgraded appliances, extra bathrooms, additional living area, quality of construction, lot size, we add or subtract from each comparable's sales price so that they more accurately portray the features of subject.

  • If, for example, the comparable has an extra half bath that the subject doesn't, the appraiser may deduct the value of that half bath from the sales price of the comparable home.
  • 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.

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. When it comes to knowing the true worth of features of homes in Montgomery and Montgomery, Enslen Appraisal Services, LLC can't be beat. The sales comparison approach to value is commonly awarded the most importance when an appraisal is for a real estate exchange.

Valuation Using the Income Approach

A third way of valuing approach to value is sometimes employed when an area has a reasonable number of renter occupied properties. In this situation, the amount of income the real estate yields is factored in with other rents in the area for comparable properties to derive the current value.

The Bottom Line

Analyzing the data from all applicable approaches, the appraiser is then ready to document an estimated market value for the subject property. Note: While this amount is probably the most reliable indication of what a property is worth, it probably will not be the final sales price. Prices can always 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 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. It all comes down to this, an appraiser from Enslen Appraisal Services, LLC will help you attain the most accurate property value, so you can make wise real estate decisions.

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