Comprehending Appraisals

Getting a house is the most serious transaction most of us could ever encounter. Whether it's a main residence, a second vacation home or one of many rentals, the purchase of real property is a complex transaction that requires multiple people working in concert to make it all happen.

Most people are familiar with the parties taking part in the transaction. The most recognizable person in the exchange is the real estate agent. Next, the bank provides the money required to bankroll the exchange. And the title company ensures that all details of the sale are completed and that a clear title transfers to the buyer from the seller.

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? 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 Mitchell Appraisals will ensure, you as an interested party, are informed.

Appraisals begin with the property inspection

To determine the true status of the property, it's our duty to first conduct a thorough inspection. We must actually view aspects of the property, such as the number of bedrooms and bathrooms, the location, amenities, etc., to ensure they truly exist and are in the shape a typical person would expect them to be. The inspection often includes a sketch of the house, ensuring the square footage is proper and illustrating the layout of the property. Most importantly, we look for any obvious features - or defects - that would have an impact on the value of the property.

Once the site has been inspected, 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.

Replacement Cost

This is where we pull information on local building costs, labor rates and other factors to determine how much it would cost to replace the property being appraised. This figure commonly sets the maximum on what a property would sell for. It's also the least used method.

Sales Comparison

Appraisers can tell you a lot about the communities in which they work. They thoroughly understand the value of certain features to the people of that area. Then, the appraiser looks up recent sales in close proximity to the subject and finds properties which are 'comparable' to the property at hand. By assigning a dollar value to certain items such as remodeled rooms, types of flooring, energy efficient items, patios and porches, or additional storage space, we add or subtract from each comparable's sales price so that they more accurately portray the features of subject.

  • For example, if 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.
  • However, if the subject has an extra half-bathroom and the comparable does not, the appraiser might add a certain amount 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 associating a value with features of homes in MILTON and Santa Rosa, Mitchell Appraisals is second to none. The sales comparison approach to value is most often given the most consideration when an appraisal is for a home exchange.

Valuation Using the Income Approach

A third way of valuing approach to value is sometimes employed when a neighborhood has a measurable number of renter occupied properties. In this case, the amount of revenue the property produces is factored in with income produced by neighboring properties to give an indicator of the current value.

Reconciliation

Examining the data from all approaches, the appraiser is then ready to document an estimated market value for the subject property. Note: While the appraised value is probably the best indication of what a house is worth, it may not be the price at which the property closes. Prices can always be driven up or down by extenuating circumstances like the motivation or urgency of a seller or 'bidding wars'. 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 case they had to sell the property again. At the end of the day, an appraiser from Mitchell Appraisals will guarantee you discover the most fair and balanced property value, so you can make the most informed real estate decisions.