What Goes Into an Appraisal?

A home purchase is the biggest financial decision most of us could ever make. Whether it's where you raise your family, a second vacation home or one of many rentals, purchasing real property is a detailed financial transaction that requires multiple people working in concert to make it all happen.

You're likely to be familiar with the parties having a role in the transaction. The real estate agent is the most known person in the transaction. Next, the bank provides the money needed to fund the exchange. The title company sees to it that all areas of the exchange are completed and that a clear title passes from the seller to the buyer.

To learn more about appraising, click here to see a short video or call us today to talk about your specific property.

So, who's responsible for making sure the value of the real estate is in line with the purchase price? In comes the appraiser. We provide an unbiased estimate 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 Sirius Appraisal Services will ensure, you as an interested party, are informed.

Appraisals begin with the home inspection

To ascertain an accurate status of the property, it's our responsibility to first complete a thorough inspection. We must see features hands on, such as the number of bedrooms and bathrooms, the location, living areas, etc, to ensure they truly are present and are in the condition a typical buyer would expect them to be. To make sure the stated size of the property has not been misrepresented and describe the layout of the property, the inspection often includes creating a sketch of the floorplan. Most importantly, the appraiser looks for any obvious features - or defects - that would affect the value of the house.

Following the inspection, 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

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

Analyzing Comparable Sales

Appraisers get to know the subdivisions in which they appraise. They innately understand the value of certain features to the people of that area. Then, the appraiser looks up recent sales in the vicinity and finds properties which are 'comparable' to the property at hand. Using knowledge of the value of 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 are more accurately in line with the features of subject property.

  • For example, if the comparable has a storm shelter and the subject does not, the appraiser may deduct the value of a storm shelter from the sales price of the comparable.
  • However, 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.

In the end, the appraiser reconciles the adjusted sales prices of all the comps and then derives an opinion of what the subject could sell for. At Sirius Appraisal Services, we are an authority in knowing the worth of real estate features in Jamaica Estates and Queens County neighborhoods. The sales comparison approach to value is typically given the most consideration when an appraisal is for a real estate exchange.

Valuation Using the Income Approach

A third method of valuing a house is sometimes employed when a neighborhood has a measurable number of rental properties. In this case, the amount of revenue the property yields is taken into consideration along with income produced by neighboring properties to determine the current value.

Putting It All Together

Combining information from all approaches, the appraiser is then ready to document an estimated market value for the property in question. It is important to note that while this amount is probably the strongest indication of what a house is worth, it probably will not be the price at which the property closes. 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 typically employed as a guideline for lenders who don't want to loan a buyer more money than the property is actually worth. Here's what it all boils down to, an appraiser from Sirius Appraisal Services will guarantee you discover the most accurate property value, so you can make the most informed real estate decisions.

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