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What are the parts of an appraisal?

One's home purchase is the most serious investment many of us will ever make. Whether it's where you raise your family, a second vacation home or a rental fixer upper, purchasing real property is a detailed financial transaction that requires multiple people working in concert to pull it all off.

To learn more about appraising, click here to see a short video or call us today to talk about your specific property.

You're likely to be familiar with the parties having a role in the transaction. The most familiar face in the transaction is the real estate agent. Then, the mortgage company provides the financial capital necessary to bankroll the transaction. The title company makes sure that all details of the sale are completed and that the title is clear to pass from the seller to the purchaser.

So what party makes sure the property is consistent with the amount being paid?   This is where you meet 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 North Carolina licensed appraiser from Jeanette Ford Appraisal Service will ensure you as an interested party are informed.

Inspecting the subject property

Our first task at Jeanette Ford Appraisal Service is to inspect the property to ascertain its true status. We must physically see aspects of the property, such as the number of bedrooms and bathrooms, the location, and so on, to ensure they truly are there and are in the shape a typical buyer would expect them to be. To make sure the stated square footage has not been misrepresented and convey the layout of the house, the inspection often entails creating a sketch of the floor plan. Most importantly, we identify any obvious amenities - or defects - that would affect the value of the property.

Once the site has been inspected, we use two or three approaches when determining the value of the property: a sales comparison, a replacement cost calculation, and an income approach when rental properties are prevalent.

Cost Approach

This is where the appraiser analyzes information on local building costs, labor rates and other factors to determine how much it would cost to build a property comparable 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 predictor of value.

Analyzing Comparable Sales

Appraisers become very familiar with the neighborhoods in which they work. We innately understand the value of certain features to the homeowners of that area. Then, the appraiser researches recent sales in close proximity to the subject and finds properties which are 'comparable' to the real estate in question. Using knowledge of the value of certain items such as upgraded appliances, extra bathrooms, an additional living area, quality of construction, lot size, we add or subtract from each comparable's sales price so that they are more accurately in line with the features of subject.

  • If, for example, the comparable has an extra half bath that the subject doesn't, the appraiser may subtract the value of that half bath 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.
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. This approach to value is commonly given the most weight when an appraisal is for a real estate sale.

Valuation Using the Income Approach

A third method of valuing a house is sometimes used when a neighborhood has a reasonable number of rental properties. In this case, the amount of revenue the real estate produces is taken into consideration along with income produced by similar properties to determine the current value.

Putting It All Together

Combining information from all approaches, the appraiser is then ready to document an estimated market value for the property at hand. The estimate of value on the appraisal report is not necessarily what's being paid for the property even though it is likely the best indication of a property's market value Depending on the individual 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 often used as a guideline for lenders who don't want to loan a buyer more money than the property would likely sell for in an open marketplace. Here's what it all boils down to: An appraiser from Jeanette Ford Appraisal Service will guarantee you get the most accurate property value, so you can make profitable real estate decisions.