What Goes Into an Appraisal?

Buying a home can be the most significant transaction most of us might ever consider. It doesn't matter if a main residence, a second vacation property or a rental fixer upper, the purchase of real property is a complex transaction that requires multiple people working in concert to pull it all off.

Most of the participants are quite familiar. The real estate agent is the most recognizable entity in the exchange. Then, the mortgage company provides the financial capital necessary to fund the transaction. The title company makes sure that all areas of the exchange 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 is responsible for making sure the property is worth the purchase price? This is where the appraiser comes in. We provide an unbiased opinion 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 Thomas W. Steinhart will ensure, you as an interested party, are informed.

The inspection is where an appraisal starts

Our first duty at Thomas W. Steinhart is to inspect the property to determine its true status. We must see features hands on, such as the number of bedrooms and bathrooms, the location, living areas, etc, to ensure they indeed are there and are in the condition a typical person would expect them to be. The inspection often includes a sketch of the property, ensuring the square footage is proper and conveying 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 property.

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

Cost Approach

Here, we analyze information on local building costs, labor rates and other elements to determine how much it would cost to replace the property being appraised. This figure commonly 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 people of that area. Then, the appraiser looks up recent sales in close proximity to the subject and finds properties which are 'comparable' to the subject being appraised. By assigning a dollar value to certain items such as fireplaces, room layout, appliance upgrades, extra bathrooms or bedrooms, or quality of construction, we adjust the comparable properties so that they are more accurately in line with the features of subject property.

  • For example, if the comparable property has an irrigation system and the subject does not, the appraiser may subtract the value of an irrigation system from the sales price of the comparable.
  • 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.

A valid estimate of what the subject could sell for can only be determined once all differences between the comps and the subject have been evaluated. When it comes to valuing features of homes in Westfield and Hamilton, Thomas W. Steinhart is your local authority. The sales comparison approach to value is most often given the most consideration when an appraisal is for a home exchange.

Valuation Using the Income Approach

A third method of valuing approach to value is sometimes employed when a neighborhood has a measurable number of renter occupied properties. In this situation, the amount of income the property generates is factored in with income produced by nearby properties to give an indicator of the current value.

Coming Up With The Final Value

Combining information from all applicable approaches, the appraiser is then ready to stipulate an estimated market value for the property in question. It is important to note that while the appraised value is probably the strongest indication of what a house is worth, it probably will not be the price at which the property closes. Depending on the individual situations 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.But the appraised value is often used as a guideline for lenders who don't want to loan a buyer more money than the property is actually worth. It all comes down to this, an appraiser from Thomas W. Steinhart will help you discover the most fair and balanced property value, so you can make profitable real estate decisions.