Real Estate Appraisals: A Primer

Their home's purchase is the most important transaction some will ever encounter. It doesn't matter if a main residence, a seasonal vacation property or one of many rentals, the purchase of real property is a complex transaction that requires multiple parties to pull it all off.

Most of the parties participating are quite familiar. The most known entity in the transaction is the real estate agent. Next, the bank provides the financial capital needed to finance the transaction. The title company ensures that all requirements of the transaction 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 makes sure the real estate is worth the purchase price? This is where you meet the appraiser. We provide an unbiased opinion of what a buyer might 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 Real Analytics LLC will ensure, you as an interested party, are informed.

Inspecting the subject property

Our first task at Real Analytics LLC is to inspect the property to determine its true status. We must physically see features, such as the number of bedrooms and bathrooms, the location, and so on, to ensure they indeed exist and are in the condition a typical person would expect them to be. The inspection often includes a sketch of the floorplan, ensuring the square footage is correct and illustrating the layout of the property. Most importantly, the appraiser identifies any obvious amenities - or defects - that would have an impact on the value of the house.

After the inspection, an appraiser uses two or three approaches to determining the value of the property: a sales comparison, a replacement cost calculation, and an income approach when rental properties are prevalent.

Replacement Cost

This is where the appraiser analyzes information on local building costs, labor rates and other elements to determine how much it would cost to replace the property being appraised. This estimate often sets the upper limit on what a property would sell for. The cost approach is also the least used predictor of value.

Sales Comparison

Appraisers get to know the neighborhoods in which they appraise. They innately understand the value of certain features to the people of that area. Then, the appraiser researches recent sales in the area and finds properties which are 'comparable' to the real estate at hand. By assigning a dollar value to certain items such as square footage, extra bathrooms, hardwood floors, fireplaces or view lots (just to name a few), we add or subtract from each comparable's sales price so that they are more accurately in line with the features of subject.

  • If, for example, the comparable property has an extra half bath that the subject doesn't, the appraiser may subtract the value of that half bath from the sales price of the comparable.
  • However, 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.

Once all necessary adjustments have been made, the appraiser reconciles the adjusted sales prices of all the comps and then derives an opinion of what the subject could sell for. At Real Analytics LLC, we are experts in knowing the value of particular items in Indian River County and Brevard County neighborhoods. This approach to value is usually given the most weight when an appraisal is for a home exchange.

Valuation Using the Income Approach

In the case of income producing properties - rental houses for example - the appraiser may use a third method of valuing a property. In this case, the amount of income the real estate produces is taken into consideration along with income produced by similar properties to determine the current value.

Coming Up With The Final Value

Combining information from all applicable approaches, the appraiser is then ready to put down an estimated market value for the property in question. The estimate of value on the appraisal report is not necessarily the final sales price even though it is likely the best indication of what a property is worth. There are always mitigating factors such as seller motivation, urgency or 'bidding wars' that may adjust an offer or listing price 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 get back in case they had to put the property on the market again. It all comes down to this, an appraiser from Real Analytics LLC will help you attain the most accurate property value, so you can make wise real estate decisions.