An Overview of the Appraisal Process

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

It's likely you are familiar with the parties having a role in the transaction. The real estate agent is the most recognizable face in the transaction. Next, the mortgage company provides the financial capital needed to bankroll the deal. And the title company makes sure that all areas of the sale are completed and that a clear title transfers 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 property is worth the purchase price? This is where the appraiser comes in. 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.

Appraisals begin with the property inspection

To ascertain an accurate status of the property, it's our responsibility to first complete a thorough inspection. We must physically see aspects of the property, such as the number of bedrooms and bathrooms, the location, living areas, etc, to ensure they truly exist and are in the condition a reasonable buyer would expect them to be. To make sure the stated size of the property is accurate and describe the layout of the house, the inspection often entails creating a sketch of the floorplan. Most importantly, we look for any obvious amenities - or defects - that would have an impact on the value of the property.

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

Replacement Cost

This is where we use information on local construction costs, labor rates and other factors to figure out how much it would cost to build a property comparable to the one being appraised. This value commonly sets the maximum on what a property would sell for. It's also the least used predictor of value.

Sales Comparison

Appraisers get to know the communities 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 close proximity to the subject and finds properties which are 'comparable' to the real estate at hand. By assigning a dollar value to certain items such as remodeled rooms, types of flooring, energy efficient items, patios and porches, or additional storage space, we adjust the comparable properties so that they are more accurately in line with the features of subject.

  • For example, if the comparable property has a fireplace and the subject does not, the appraiser may deduct the value of a fireplace from the sales price of the comparable.
  • However, if the subject has an extra half-bathroom and the comparable does not, the appraiser might add a certain 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 DCF Appraisals, we are an authority when it comes to knowing the worth of particular items in Southampton and Suffolk County neighborhoods. The sales comparison approach to value is most often given the most importance when an appraisal is for a real estate sale.

Valuation Using the Income Approach

In the case of income producing properties - rental houses for example - we may use an additional way of valuing real estate. In this situation, the amount of income the property yields is taken into consideration along with income produced by nearby properties to determine the current value.

Putting It All Together

Examining the data from all approaches, the appraiser is then ready to put down an estimated market value for the property at hand. It is important to note that while this amount is probably the best indication of what a property is worth, it may not be the final sales price. Prices can always be driven up or down by extenuating circumstances like the motivation or urgency of a seller or 'bidding wars'. 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 case they had to sell the property again. The bottom line is, an appraiser from DCF Appraisals will guarantee you attain the most fair and balanced property value, so you can make the most informed real estate decisions.