What Goes Into an Appraisal?

Their home's purchase can be the largest financial decision many of us might ever make. Whether it's a main residence, an additional vacation home or an investment, the purchase of real property is a detailed financial transaction that requires multiple parties to pull it all off.

It's likely you are familiar with the parties taking part in the transaction. The real estate agent is the most recognizable face in the exchange. Then, the bank provides the money needed to finance the deal. And ensuring all requirements of the sale are completed and that a clear title passes 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, who makes sure the value of the real estate is consistent 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 DCF Appraisals will ensure, you as an interested party, are informed.

Inspecting the subject property

Our first duty at DCF Appraisals is to inspect the property to ascertain its true status. We must actually see aspects of the property, such as the number of bedrooms and bathrooms, the location, amenities, etc., to ensure they truly exist and are in the condition a typical buyer would expect them to be. The inspection often includes a sketch of the floorplan, ensuring the square footage is accurate and illustrating the layout of the property. Most importantly, we identify any obvious features - or defects - that would affect the value of the property.

Back at the office, 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 construction costs, labor rates and other factors to figure out how much it would cost to construct a property similar to the one being appraised. This value usually sets the upper limit on what a property would sell for. The cost approach is also the least used predictor of value.

Analyzing Comparable Sales

Appraisers become very familiar with the neighborhoods in which they appraise. They thoroughly understand the value of particular features to the homeowners of that area. Then, the appraiser researches recent transactions in the vicinity and finds properties which are 'comparable' to the home being appraised. By assigning a dollar value to certain items such as remodeled rooms, types of flooring, energy efficient items, patios and porches, or extra storage space, we add or subtract from each comparable's sales price so that they more accurately portray the features of subject property.

  • For example, if the comparable property 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 home.
  • 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 Southampton and Suffolk, DCF Appraisals can't be beat. This approach to value is usually awarded the most weight when an appraisal is for a real estate sale.

Valuation Using the Income Approach

A third method of valuing real estate is sometimes employed when an area has a reasonable number of renter occupied properties. In this situation, the amount of income the real estate yields is factored in with other rents in the area for comparable properties to determine the current value.

Putting It All Together

Analyzing the data from all applicable approaches, the appraiser is then ready to put down 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 property is worth, it may 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 employed as a guideline for lenders who don't want to loan a buyer more money than the property is actually worth. The bottom line is, an appraiser from DCF Appraisals will help you attain the most fair and balanced property value, so you can make profitable real estate decisions.