Comprehending Appraisals

Acquiring real estate is the largest investment many people might ever encounter. Whether it's where you raise your family, an additional vacation home or one of many rentals, the purchase of real property is a detailed transaction that requires multiple people working in concert to pull it all off.

Most of the parties involved are very familiar. The most recognizable face in the transaction is the real estate agent. Then, the bank provides the money necessary to fund the exchange. And ensuring all details of the exchange are completed and that a clear title passes to the buyer from the seller is the title company.

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 is responsible for making sure the value of the property is in line 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 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

Our first task at Mitchell Appraisals is to inspect the property to ascertain its true status. We must physically view features, 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 buyer would expect them to be. The inspection often includes a sketch of the property, ensuring the square footage is accurate and illustrating the layout of the property. Most importantly, we look for any obvious amenities - or defects - that would have an impact on the value of the house.

Next, after 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.

Replacement Cost

Here, we use information on local building costs, the cost of labor and other elements to derive how much it would cost to build a property similar to the one being appraised. This value usually 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 people of that area. Then, the appraiser researches recent transactions in close proximity to the subject and finds properties which are 'comparable' to the subject being appraised. Using knowledge of the value of certain items such as fireplaces, room layout, appliance upgrades, additional bathrooms or bedrooms, or quality of construction, 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.

A valid estimate of what the subject could sell for can only be determined once all differences between the comps and the subject have been evaluated. When it comes to knowing the true value of features of homes in MILTON and Santa Rosa, Mitchell Appraisals can't be beat. The sales comparison approach to value is typically given the most importance when an appraisal is for a home sale.

Valuation Using the Income Approach

A third method of valuing a house is sometimes employed when an area has a measurable number of rental properties. In this case, the amount of revenue the property generates is taken into consideration along with other rents in the area for comparable properties to give an indicator of the current value.

The Bottom Line

Analyzing 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 house is worth, it probably will not be the price at which the property closes. There are always mitigating factors such as seller motivation, urgency or 'bidding wars' that may adjust an offer or listing price up or down. But the appraised value is often 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 put the property on the market again. The bottom line is, an appraiser from Mitchell Appraisals will help you discover the most fair and balanced property value, so you can make the most informed real estate decisions.