What Are the Parts of an Appraisal?

Buying real estate can be the most serious financial decision many might ever consider. It doesn't matter if a primary residence, a second vacation property or one of many rentals, purchasing real property is an involved transaction that requires multiple parties to make it all happen.

Most people are familiar with the parties taking part in the transaction. The real estate agent is the most familiar entity in the exchange. Next, the mortgage company provides the money necessary to bankroll the deal. And the title company ensures that all requirements of the sale are completed and that the title is clear to pass from the seller to the purchaser.

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So, who's responsible for making sure the real estate is worth the purchase price? In comes the appraiser. We provide an unbiased estimate 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 Greater Orlando Appraisal Assoc., Inc. will ensure, you as an interested party, are informed.

Appraisals begin with the inspection

Our first task at Greater Orlando Appraisal Assoc., Inc. is to inspect the property to ascertain its true status. We must see aspects of the property first hand, such as the number of bedrooms and bathrooms, the location, living areas, etc, to ensure they indeed are there and are in the condition a reasonable buyer would expect them to be. To make sure the stated size of the property has not been misrepresented and convey the layout of the property, the inspection often requires creating a sketch of the floorplan. Most importantly, the appraiser looks for any obvious amenities - or defects - that would affect the value of the property.

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

Cost Approach

This is where we gather information on local building costs, labor rates and other factors to calculate how much it would cost to replace the property being appraised. This value often sets the upper limit on what a property would sell for. It's also the least used method.

Analyzing Comparable Sales

Appraisers become very familiar with the communities in which they appraise. They innately understand the value of particular 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 real estate at hand. By assigning a dollar value to certain items such as upgraded appliances, additional bathrooms, additional living area, quality of construction, lot size, 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 doesn't, the appraiser may deduct the value of that half bath from the sales price of the comparable home.
  • If the subject property has an extra half-bathroom and the comparable does not, the appraiser might add a certain amount 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 an authority in knowing the value of particular items in Orlando and Orange County neighborhoods. The sales comparison approach to value is most often given the most weight when an appraisal is for a real estate sale.

Valuation Using the Income Approach

In the case of income producing properties - rental houses for example - we may use an additional method of valuing real estate. In this situation, the amount of income the property produces is factored in with income produced by nearby properties to give an indicator of the current value.

Reconciliation

Combining information from all applicable approaches, the appraiser is then ready to stipulate 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 the seller's desire to get out of the property, urgency or 'bidding wars' that may adjust the final price up or down. But 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 help you discover the most accurate property value, so you can make profitable real estate decisions.