What Goes Into an Appraisal?

A home purchase can be the biggest transaction many people may ever encounter. Whether it's a main residence, an additional vacation property or an investment, the purchase of real property is a complex financial transaction that requires multiple people working in concert to pull it all off.

It's likely you are familiar with the parties having a role in the transaction. The real estate agent is the most familiar person in the transaction. Then, the bank provides the money required to bankroll the deal. And the title company makes sure that all details of the sale are completed and that a clear title passes to the buyer from the seller.

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So, who's responsible for making sure the property is worth the amount being paid? In comes the appraiser. We provide an unbiased estimate 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 Timeline Appraisal Services, LLC will ensure, you as an interested party, are informed.

Appraisals begin with the inspection

To ascertain the true status of the property, it's our duty to first complete a thorough inspection. We must see features first hand, such as the number of bedrooms and bathrooms, the location, and so on, to ensure they indeed exist and are in the shape a typical person would expect them to be. To make sure the stated square footage has not been misrepresented and illustrate the layout of the home, the inspection often requires creating a sketch of the floorplan. Most importantly, we identify any obvious amenities - or defects - that would affect the value of the house.

Once the site has been inspected, we use two or three approaches to determining the value of the property: a paired sales analysis, a replacement cost calculation, and an income approach when rental properties are prevalent.

Cost Approach

Here, the appraiser analyzes information on local construction costs, the cost of labor and other elements to ascertain how much it would cost to build a property similar to the one being appraised. This value usually sets the upper limit on what a property would sell for. It's also the least used predictor of value.

Analyzing Comparable Sales

Appraisers become very familiar with the subdivisions in which they appraise. They thoroughly understand the value of certain features to the people of that area. Then, the appraiser researches recent transactions in the vicinity and finds properties which are 'comparable' to the real estate at hand. By assigning a dollar value to certain items such as upgraded appliances, additional bathrooms, additional living area, quality of construction, lot size, we adjust the comparable properties so that they more accurately match the features of subject property.

  • For example, if the comparable property has an irrigation system and the subject doesn't, the appraiser may subtract the value of an irrigation system from the sales price of the comparable home.
  • But, 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. When it comes to knowing the true value of features of homes in Scottsdale and Maricopa, Timeline Appraisal Services, LLC can't be beat. The sales comparison approach to value is most often given the most importance when an appraisal is for a real estate purchase.

Valuation Using the Income Approach

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

Coming Up With The Final Value

Combining information from all approaches, the appraiser is then ready to stipulate an estimated market value for the property at hand. 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 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 used 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 Timeline Appraisal Services, LLC will help you discover the most accurate property value, so you can make profitable real estate decisions.