Understanding Appraisals

Buying a house is the largest investment many of us may ever encounter. It doesn't matter if where you raise your family, a seasonal vacation home or a rental fixer upper, the purchase of real property is a detailed transaction that requires multiple people working in concert to make it all happen.

Most of the participants are very familiar. The most recognizable face in the exchange is the real estate agent. Next, the bank provides the financial capital required to finance the deal. And ensuring all requirements of the sale are completed and that a clear title transfers from the seller to the buyer is the title company.

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So, what party makes sure the value of the property 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 parcel of real estate, where both buyer and seller are informed parties. A licensed, certified, professional appraiser from Timberline Appraisals will ensure, you as an interested party, are informed.

Appraisals start with the inspection

To determine the true status of the property, it's our responsibility to first conduct a thorough inspection. We must see aspects of the property first hand, such as the number of bedrooms and bathrooms, the location, and so on, to ensure they indeed exist and are in the shape a typical person would expect them to be. To make sure the stated size of the property has not been misrepresented and illustrate the layout of the house, the inspection often requires creating a sketch of the floorplan. Most importantly, the appraiser identifies any obvious features - or defects - that would have an impact on the value of the property.

Following the inspection, an appraiser uses two or three approaches to determining the value of the property: sales comparison and, in the case of a rental property, an income approach.

Replacement Cost

Here, the appraiser pulls information on local building costs, the cost of labor and other factors to calculate how much it would cost to replace the property being appraised. This figure often sets the maximum on what a property would sell for. The cost approach is also the least used predictor of value.

Paired Sales Analysis

Appraisers can tell you a lot about the communities in which they work. They thoroughly understand the value of particular features to the homeowners of that area. Then, the appraiser looks up recent sales in the neighborhood and finds properties which are 'comparable' to the real estate 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 are more accurately in line with the features of subject.

  • If, for example, the comparable property has a storm shelter and the subject does not, the appraiser may subtract the value of a storm shelter 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.

After all differences have been accounted for, the appraiser reconciles the adjusted sales prices of all the comps and then derives an opinion of what the subject could sell for. When it comes to knowing the true worth of features of homes in Brodhead and Green, Timberline Appraisals can't be beat. The sales comparison approach to value is typically awarded the most importance when an appraisal is for a real estate purchase.

Valuation Using the Income Approach

A third method of valuing a property is sometimes employed when an area has a reasonable number of renter occupied properties. In this scenario, the amount of revenue the real estate generates is taken into consideration along with other rents in the area for comparable properties to give an indicator of the current value.

Arriving at a Value Conclusion

Analyzing the data from all applicable approaches, the appraiser is then ready to state an estimated market value for the property in question. Note: While the appraised value is probably the most reliable indication of what a house is worth, it may not be the final sales price. Depending on the specific situations of the buyer or seller, their level of urgency or a buyer's desire for that exact property, the closing price of a home can always be driven up or down.But the appraised value is typically used as a guideline for lenders who don't want to loan a buyer more money than they could recover in the event they had to sell the property again. At the end of the day, an appraiser from Timberline Appraisals will guarantee you discover the most accurate property value, so you can make profitable real estate decisions.