What Are the Parts of an Appraisal?

Purchasing a home can be the most serious financial decision many might ever make. It doesn't matter if where you raise your family, an additional vacation property or a rental fixer upper, the purchase of real property is a detailed transaction that requires multiple people working in concert to make it all happen.

Practically all the people involved are very familiar. The real estate agent is the most familiar entity in the transaction. Then, the mortgage company provides the money necessary to finance the exchange. And the title company sees to it that all areas of the transaction are completed and that a clear title passes from the seller to the purchaser.

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 value of the property is consistent with 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 property, where both buyer and seller are informed parties. A licensed, certified, professional appraiser from McCormick Appraisal Services, LLC will ensure, you as an interested party, are informed.

The inspection is where an appraisal starts

Our first task at McCormick Appraisal Services, LLC is to inspect the property to determine its true status. We must physically view features, such as the number of bedrooms and bathrooms, the location, amenities, etc., to ensure they indeed are there and are in the shape a reasonable buyer would expect them to be. To make sure the stated square footage has not been misrepresented and document the layout of the property, the inspection often includes creating a sketch of the floorplan. Most importantly, we look for any obvious amenities - or defects - that would affect the value of the house.

Once the site has been inspected, 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

This is where the appraiser analyzes information on local construction costs, labor rates and other elements to determine how much it would cost to build a property nearly identical to the one being appraised. This value commonly sets the upper limit on what a property would sell for. The cost approach is also the least used predictor of value.

Sales Comparison

Appraisers get to know the communities in which they appraise. They thoroughly understand the value of certain features to the people of that area. Then, the appraiser looks up 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 upgraded appliances, additional bathrooms, additional living area, quality of construction, lot size, we adjust the comparable properties so that they more accurately portray the features of subject.

  • If, for example, the comparable has a storm shelter and the subject doesn't, the appraiser may subtract the value of a storm shelter from the sales price of the comparable home.
  • If the subject has an extra half-bathroom and the comparable does not, the appraiser might add an amount to the comparable property.

An opinion of what the subject could sell for can only be determined once all differences between the comps and the subject have been evaluated. At McCormick Appraisal Services, LLC, we are experts in knowing the value of real estate features in Fayetteville and Fayette County neighborhoods. The sales comparison approach to value is most often given the most importance when an appraisal is for a home purchase.

Valuation Using the Income Approach

In the case of income producing properties - rental houses for example - we may use an additional approach to value. In this case, the amount of income the real estate generates is factored in with income produced by nearby properties to derive the current value.

The Bottom Line

Combining information from all applicable approaches, the appraiser is then ready to stipulate an estimated market value for the subject property. The estimate of value at the bottom of the appraisal report is not necessarily 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 an offer or listing price up or down. Regardless, the appraised value is often employed 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 McCormick Appraisal Services, LLC will guarantee you attain the most fair and balanced property value, so you can make wise real estate decisions.

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