An Overview of the Appraisal Process

Buying real estate is the largest investment many people might ever make. It doesn't matter if where you raise your family, a second vacation property or one of many rentals, purchasing real property is a detailed transaction that requires multiple people working in concert to make it all happen.

You're probably familiar with the parties having a role in the transaction. The real estate agent is the most recognizable face in the exchange. Next, the mortgage company provides the money necessary to bankroll the transaction. And ensuring all areas of the exchange are completed and that a clear title transfers from the seller to the purchaser is the title company.

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So, who's responsible for making sure the value of the real estate is in line with the purchase price? In comes the appraiser. We provide an unbiased estimate of what a buyer could expect to pay — or a seller receive — for a property, where both buyer and seller are informed parties. A licensed, certified, professional appraiser from Greater Orlando Appraisal Assoc., Inc. will ensure, you as an interested party, are informed.

Inspecting the subject property

Our first task at Greater Orlando Appraisal Assoc., Inc. is to inspect the property to determine its true status. We must see features first hand, such as the number of bedrooms and bathrooms, the location, amenities, etc., to ensure they indeed are present and are in the shape a reasonable buyer would expect them to be. To ensure the stated square footage is accurate and describe the layout of the property, the inspection often entails creating a sketch of the floorplan. Most importantly, the appraiser identifies any obvious features - or defects - that would affect the value of the property.

Following the inspection, 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 uses information on local building costs, labor rates and other factors to ascertain how much it would cost to construct a property comparable to the one being appraised. This figure usually sets the maximum on what a property would sell for. It's also the least used method.

Sales Comparison

Appraisers become very familiar with the subdivisions in which they work. They thoroughly understand the value of particular features to the homeowners of that area. Then, the appraiser researches recent transactions in close proximity to the subject and finds properties which are 'comparable' to the subject in question. Using knowledge of the value of certain items such as square footage, additional bathrooms, hardwood floors, fireplaces or view lots (just to name a few), we adjust the comparable properties so that they more accurately portray the features of subject.

  • For example, if the comparable 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 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.

A true estimate of what the subject could sell for can only be determined once all differences between the comps and the subject have been evaluated. At Greater Orlando Appraisal Assoc., Inc., we are an authority when it comes to knowing the worth of particular items in Orlando and Orange County neighborhoods. This approach to value is usually given the most weight when an appraisal is for a real estate exchange.

Valuation Using the Income Approach

A third method of valuing a house is sometimes used when an area has a measurable number of renter occupied properties. In this situation, the amount of income the property generates is taken into consideration along with income produced by neighboring properties to give an indicator of the current value.

Reconciliation

Combining information from all approaches, the appraiser is then ready to document 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 a property's valueThere 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 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 Greater Orlando Appraisal Assoc., Inc. will guarantee you get the most fair and balanced property value, so you can make wise real estate decisions.