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What Goes Into an Appraisal?

Purchasing real estate is the largest investment some people will ever encounter. Whether it's where you raise your family, a seasonal vacation home or an investment, the purchase of real property is an involved transaction that requires multiple people working in concert to make it all happen.

The majority of the participants are quite familiar. The most familiar entity in the exchange is the real estate agent. Next, the bank provides the money needed to fund the deal. And ensuring all areas of the transaction are completed and that the title is clear to pass from the seller to the purchaser 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 in line with the amount being paid? In comes 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 Gage Appraisal Services will ensure, you as an interested party, are informed.

Appraisals start with the home inspection

Our first duty at Gage Appraisal Services is to inspect the property to ascertain its true status. We must physically view 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 shape a typical person would expect them to be. The inspection often includes a sketch of the house, ensuring the square footage is accurate and illustrating the layout of the property. Most importantly, the appraiser identifies any obvious features - 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: sales comparison and, in the case of a rental property, an income approach.

Replacement Cost

This is where the appraiser uses information on local construction costs, labor rates and other elements to ascertain how much it would cost to construct a property nearly identical to the one being appraised. This estimate often sets the maximum on what a property would sell for. It's also the least used method.

Paired Sales Analysis

Appraisers are intimately familiar with the subdivisions in which they appraise. They thoroughly understand the value of certain features to the homeowners of that area. Then, the appraiser researches recent sales in close proximity to the subject and finds properties which are 'comparable' to the real estate being appraised. Using knowledge of the value of certain items such as remodeled rooms, types of flooring, energy efficient items, patios and porches, or additional storage space, we add or subtract from each comparable's sales price so that they more accurately match the features of subject.

  • For example, if the comparable property has an extra half bath that the subject does not, the appraiser may deduct the value of that half bath 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.

After all differences have been accounted for, 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 valuing features of homes in Lansing and Allamakee, Gage Appraisal Services can't be beat. The sales comparison approach to value is commonly given the most importance when an appraisal is for a home sale.

Valuation Using the Income Approach

In the case of income producing properties - rental houses for example - the appraiser may use an additional method of valuing real estate. In this scenario, the amount of revenue the real estate generates is factored in with other rents in the area for comparable properties to derive the current value.

Putting It All Together

Combining information from all approaches, the appraiser is then ready to state 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 may not be the final sales price. Depending on the specific situations of the buyer or seller, their level of urgency or a buyer's desire for that exact property, the closing price of a home can always be driven up or down.But the appraised value is often employed as a guideline for lenders who don't want to loan a buyer more money than they could recover in case they had to sell the property again. At the end of the day, an appraiser from Gage Appraisal Services will guarantee you get the most accurate property value, so you can make wise real estate decisions.

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