Home Appraisals: A PrimerOne's home purchase is the largest investment many of us will ever consider. It doesn't matter if it's a primary residence, a seasonal vacation property or a rental fixer upper, purchasing real property is an involved transaction that requires multiple parties to make it all happen.
Most of the participants are very familiar. The most recognizable person in the exchange is the real estate agent. Then, the mortgage company provides the money required to bankroll the deal. Ensuring all aspects of the sale are completed and that the title is clear to pass from the seller to the purchaser is the title company.
So what party is responsible for making sure the value of the property is consistent with the purchase price? In comes the appraiser. 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 professional South Carolina licensed appraiser from Certified Appraisals will ensure you as an interested party are informed.
The inspection is where an appraisal startsTo ascertain the true status of the property, it's our duty to first conduct a thorough inspection. We must physically see aspects of the property, such as the number of bedrooms and bathrooms, the location, amenities, etc., to ensure they really are there and are in the shape a reasonable person would expect them to be. The inspection often includes a sketch of the floor plan, 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.
After the inspection, an appraiser employs two or three approaches when determining the value of real property: sales comparison and, in the case of a rental property, an income approach.
Cost ApproachThis is where the appraiser uses information on local construction costs, the cost of labor 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 method.
Sales ComparisonAppraisers are intimately familiar with the communities in which they appraise. We innately understand the value of particular features to the homeowners of that area. Then, the appraiser researches recent transactions in the neighborhood and finds properties which are 'comparable' to the real estate in question. By assigning a dollar value to certain items such as square footage, additional 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.
Valuation Using the Income ApproachIn the case of income producing properties - rental houses for example - we may use a third approach to value. In this case, the amount of income the real estate yields is factored in with income produced by similar properties to determine the current value.
Putting It All TogetherCombining information from all applicable approaches, the appraiser is then ready to put down an estimated market value for the subject property. The estimate of value on the appraisal report is not always 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 the event they had to sell the property again. At the end of the day: An appraiser from Certified Appraisals will help you attain the most accurate property value, so you can make wise real estate decisions.