Real Property Appraisals: A Primer

Purchasing real estate is the most important transaction most people may ever make. It doesn't matter if a primary residence, an additional vacation home or a rental fixer upper, the purchase of real property is a detailed transaction that requires multiple parties to see it through.

Most people are familiar with the parties having a role in the transaction. The most known face in the exchange is the real estate agent. Next, the lender provides the money necessary to bankroll the deal. And ensuring all areas of the transaction are completed and that the title is clear to pass 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 in line with the amount being paid? This is where you meet 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 Gage Appraisal Services will ensure, you as an interested party, are informed.

Appraisals begin with the inspection

To determine the true status of the property, it's our duty to first perform a thorough inspection. We must see aspects of the property first hand, such as the number of bedrooms and bathrooms, the location, amenities, etc., to ensure they truly are there and are in the condition a typical person would expect them to be. The inspection often includes a sketch of the property, ensuring the square footage is accurate and conveying the layout of the property. Most importantly, we look for any obvious features - or defects - that would affect the value of the house.

Once the site has been inspected, 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, the appraiser uses information on local construction costs, labor rates and other factors to ascertain how much it would cost to construct a property nearly identical to the one being appraised. This figure 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 are intimately familiar with the neighborhoods in which they work. They thoroughly understand the value of specific features to the residents of that area. Then, the appraiser researches recent transactions in close proximity to the subject and finds properties which are 'comparable' to the subject at hand. Using knowledge of the value of 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.

  • For example, if the comparable property has an irrigation system and the subject does not, the appraiser may subtract the value of an irrigation system from the sales price of the comparable.
  • 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.

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 associating a value with features of homes in Lansing and Allamakee, Gage Appraisal Services can't be beat. This approach to value is most often given the most weight when an appraisal is for a real estate exchange.

Valuation Using the Income Approach

A third way of valuing real estate is sometimes used when an area has a measurable number of rental properties. In this situation, the amount of income the property yields is factored in with income produced by comparable properties to determine the current value.

Reconciliation

Combining information from all applicable approaches, the appraiser is then ready to put down an estimated market value for the property at hand. Note: While the appraised value is probably the best indication of what a property is worth, it may not be the price at which the property closes. Depending on the specific circumstances 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.Regardless, the appraised value is typically 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 put the property on the market again. It all comes down to this, an appraiser from Gage Appraisal Services will help you discover the most accurate property value, so you can make the most informed real estate decisions.

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