What Is an Appraisal?

Purchasing real estate is the most serious financial decision many people could ever make. Whether it's where you raise your family, an additional vacation home or an investment, the purchase of real property is a detailed financial transaction that requires multiple people working in concert to see it through.

Most people are familiar with the parties having a role in the transaction. The real estate agent is the most known person in the transaction. Next, the lender provides the financial capital needed to fund the deal. And ensuring all requirements of the transaction 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, what party is responsible for making sure the property is worth the amount being paid? This is where you meet 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 Sirius Appraisal Services will ensure, you as an interested party, are informed.

Appraisals start with the inspection

To ascertain the true status of the property, it's our responsibility to first complete a thorough inspection. We must actually see features, such as the number of bedrooms and bathrooms, the location, living areas, etc, to ensure they truly are there and are in the condition a typical buyer would expect them to be. To make sure the stated size of the property is accurate and illustrate the layout of the home, the inspection often entails creating a sketch of the floorplan. Most importantly, we look for any obvious amenities - or defects - that would affect the value of the property.

Following the inspection, we use two or three approaches to determining the value of real property: sales comparison and, in the case of a rental property, an income approach.

Cost Approach

Here, the appraiser pulls information on local building costs, labor rates and other elements to figure out how much it would cost to replace the property being appraised. This value 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 can tell you a lot about the communities in which they work. They innately understand the value of certain features to the homeowners of that area. Then, the appraiser looks up recent sales in close proximity to the subject and finds properties which are 'comparable' to the real estate in question. 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.

  • For example, if the comparable has an irrigation system and the subject doesn't, the appraiser may deduct the value of an irrigation system from the sales price of the comparable.
  • However, if the subject property 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 might sell for can only be determined once all differences between the comps and the subject have been evaluated. At Sirius Appraisal Services, we are experts in knowing the worth of particular items in Jamaica Estates and Queens County neighborhoods. The sales comparison approach to value is usually given the most importance when an appraisal is for a home exchange.

Valuation Using the Income Approach

A third method of valuing real estate is sometimes used when an area has a measurable number of renter occupied properties. In this case, the amount of income the property produces is factored in with income produced by similar properties to determine the current value.

Arriving at a Value Conclusion

Analyzing the data from all approaches, the appraiser is then ready to document 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 the seller's desire to get out of the property, urgency or 'bidding wars' that may adjust the final 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 they could get back in the event they had to sell the property again. It all comes down to this, an appraiser from Sirius Appraisal Services will guarantee you discover the most fair and balanced property value, so you can make wise real estate decisions.

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