What Goes Into an Appraisal?

Buying a house can be the biggest financial decision many may ever encounter. It doesn't matter if where you raise your family, a second vacation property or one of many rentals, the purchase of real property is a detailed transaction that requires multiple parties to make it all happen.

It's likely you are familiar with the parties taking part in the transaction. The real estate agent is the most known person in the transaction. Then, the lender provides the financial capital necessary to fund the transaction. And ensuring all details of the transaction are completed and that the title is clear to pass to the buyer from the seller is the title company.

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So, who makes sure the value of the property is consistent with the purchase price? This is where the appraiser comes in. We provide an unbiased opinion 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 Filson's Real Estate Appraisal Services, Inc. will ensure, you as an interested party, are informed.

Appraisals start with the home inspection

To ascertain the true status of the property, it's our duty to first complete a thorough inspection. We must see features hands on, such as the number of bedrooms and bathrooms, the location, and so on, to ensure they indeed are present and are in the condition a reasonable person would expect them to be. The inspection often includes a sketch of the floorplan, ensuring the square footage is correct and illustrating the layout of the property. Most importantly, the appraiser identifies any obvious amenities - or defects - that would affect the value of the house.

Once the site has been inspected, we use two or three approaches to determining the value of the property: paired sales analysis and, in the case of a rental property, an income approach.

Cost Approach

Here, we pull information on local building costs, labor rates and other elements to ascertain how much it would cost to replace the property being appraised. This value usually 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 get to know the neighborhoods in which they appraise. They thoroughly understand the value of certain features to the homeowners of that area. Then, the appraiser looks up recent transactions in the vicinity and finds properties which are 'comparable' to the subject being appraised. Using knowledge of the value of certain items such as upgraded appliances, additional bathrooms, additional living area, quality of construction, lot size, we adjust the comparable properties so that they more accurately portray the features of subject.

  • For example, if the comparable has a fireplace and the subject does not, the appraiser may deduct the value of a fireplace from the sales price of the comparable home.
  • 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.

An opinion of what the subject could sell for can only be determined once all differences between the comps and the subject have been evaluated. At Filson's Real Estate Appraisal Services, Inc., we are experts in knowing the worth of real estate features in Roswell and Fulton County neighborhoods. The sales comparison approach to value is commonly awarded the most weight when an appraisal is for a real estate purchase.

Valuation Using the Income Approach

In the case of income producing properties - rental houses for example - we may use an additional approach to value. In this case, the amount of income the property generates is taken into consideration along with other rents in the area for comparable properties to determine the current value.

Arriving at a Value Conclusion

Combining information 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 most reliable indication of what a property is worth, it may not be the price at which the property closes. 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.Regardless, 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 put the property on the market again. At the end of the day, an appraiser from Filson's Real Estate Appraisal Services, Inc. will help you discover the most fair and balanced property value, so you can make wise real estate decisions.