What Goes Into an Appraisal?

Getting a home can be the largest financial decision some may ever encounter. Whether it's a primary residence, an additional vacation home or an investment, the purchase of real property is a complex financial transaction that requires multiple parties to pull it all off.

Practically all the parties involved are quite familiar. The real estate agent is the most known face in the transaction. Then, the mortgage company provides the financial capital necessary to bankroll the transaction. The title company makes sure that all aspects of the transaction are completed and that the title is clear to pass from the seller to the purchaser.

To learn more about appraising, click here to see a short video or call us today to talk about your specific property.

So, what party makes sure the real estate is worth the purchase price? This is where the appraiser comes in. We provide an unbiased opinion of what a buyer might 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

To ascertain an accurate status of the property, it's our responsibility to first complete a thorough inspection. We must see features first hand, such as the number of bedrooms and bathrooms, the location, amenities, etc., to ensure they truly exist and are in the condition a typical buyer would expect them to be. To ensure the stated square footage is accurate and describe the layout of the home, the inspection often entails creating a sketch of the floorplan. Most importantly, we look for any obvious amenities - or defects - that would have an impact on the value of the property.

Back at the office, 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

This is where the appraiser uses information on local construction costs, the cost of labor and other factors to figure out how much it would cost to construct a property comparable to the one being appraised. This value often sets the maximum 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 communities in which they work. They thoroughly understand the value of certain features to the residents of that area. Then, the appraiser researches recent sales in close proximity to the subject and finds properties which are 'comparable' to the property being appraised. 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 adjust the comparable properties so that they more accurately portray the features of subject property.

  • If, for example, the comparable has a fireplace and the subject doesn't, the appraiser may subtract the value of a fireplace 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.

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 Greater Orlando Appraisal Assoc., Inc., we are experts when it comes to knowing the worth of particular items in Orlando and Orange County neighborhoods. The sales comparison approach to value is typically given the most consideration when an appraisal is for a real estate purchase.

Valuation Using the Income Approach

In the case of income producing properties - rental houses for example - the appraiser may use an additional approach to value. In this scenario, the amount of revenue the property yields is taken into consideration along with other rents in the area for comparable properties to determine the current value.

Reconciliation

Examining the data from all applicable approaches, the appraiser is then ready to stipulate an estimated market value for the property in question. It is important to note that while this amount is probably the strongest indication of what a property is worth, it may not be the final sales price. It's not uncommon for prices to be driven up or down by extenuating circumstances like the motivation or urgency of a seller or 'bidding wars'. Regardless, the appraised value is typically employed as a guideline for lenders who don't want to loan a buyer more money than the property is actually worth. It all comes down to this, an appraiser from Greater Orlando Appraisal Assoc., Inc. will help you discover the most fair and balanced property value, so you can make wise real estate decisions.