Making Sense of the Appraisal Process

Their home's purchase can be the most important investment many people could ever consider. It doesn't matter if where you raise your family, a seasonal vacation home or one of many rentals, the purchase of real property is an involved transaction that requires multiple people working in concert to make it all happen.

You're probably familiar with the parties having a role in the transaction. The most known person in the transaction is the real estate agent. Then, the mortgage company provides the money necessary to fund the exchange. The title company ensures that all requirements of the sale are completed and that a clear title transfers from the seller to the buyer.

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So, who's 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 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 ValPro Appraisal LLC will ensure, you as an interested party, are informed.

Appraisals start with the property inspection

Our first task at ValPro Appraisal LLC 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, and so on, to ensure they truly are present and are in the shape a typical buyer would expect them to be. The inspection often includes a sketch of the property, ensuring the square footage is accurate and conveying the layout of the property. Most importantly, the appraiser looks 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: paired sales analysis and, in the case of a rental property, an income approach.

Replacement Cost

This is where the appraiser uses information on local building costs, the cost of labor and other elements to calculate how much it would cost to build a property comparable to the one being appraised. This figure usually sets the maximum on what a property would sell for. It's also the least used method.

Analyzing Comparable Sales

Appraisers can tell you a lot about the neighborhoods in which they work. They innately understand the value of particular features to the homeowners of that area. Then, the appraiser looks up recent transactions in the vicinity and finds properties which are 'comparable' to the home in question. Using knowledge of the value of 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 more accurately portray the features of subject.

  • For example, if the comparable has an extra half bath that the subject doesn't, the appraiser may subtract the value of that half bath from the sales price of the comparable.
  • But, 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.

An opinion of what the subject might sell for can only be determined once all differences between the comps and the subject have been evaluated. At ValPro Appraisal LLC, we are experts in knowing the value of particular items in Cape Coral and Lee County neighborhoods. This approach to value is commonly given the most consideration when an appraisal is for a real estate purchase.

Valuation Using the Income Approach

In the case of income producing properties - rental houses for example - we may use a third approach to value. In this situation, the amount of income the property generates is factored in with other rents in the area for comparable properties to determine the current value.

Reconciliation

Combining information from all applicable approaches, the appraiser is then ready to put down an estimated market value for the property at hand. Note: While this amount is probably the most reliable indication of what a house is worth, it probably will not be the final sales price. 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 often 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 put the property on the market again. At the end of the day, an appraiser from ValPro Appraisal LLC will guarantee you discover the most fair and balanced property value, so you can make the most informed real estate decisions.