What Are the Parts of an Appraisal?

A home purchase can be the largest investment some people will ever consider. Whether it's a primary residence, a second vacation home or one of many rentals, the purchase of real property is a complex transaction that requires multiple parties to pull it all off.

Most people are familiar with the parties having a role in the transaction. The most known person in the transaction is the real estate agent. Next, the bank provides the financial capital needed to bankroll the exchange. And ensuring all requirements 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, who makes sure the real estate is worth the purchase price? 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 parcel of real estate, where both buyer and seller are informed parties. A licensed, certified, professional appraiser from Hidden Creek Appraisal will ensure, you as an interested party, are informed.

Appraisals start with the property inspection

To determine an accurate status of the property, it's our responsibility 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 really are present and are in the condition a typical person would expect them to be. To make sure the stated square footage is accurate and convey the layout of the property, the inspection often includes creating a sketch of the floorplan. Most importantly, we look for any obvious features - or defects - that would have an impact on the value of the house.

Once the site has been inspected, 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

This is where the appraiser analyzes information on local construction costs, the cost of labor and other factors to figure out how much it would cost to construct a property similar to the one being appraised. This value commonly sets the maximum on what a property would sell for. The cost approach is also the least used method.

Paired Sales Analysis

Appraisers become very familiar with the subdivisions in which they work. They innately understand the value of certain features to the residents of that area. Then, the appraiser looks up recent sales in the vicinity and finds properties which are 'comparable' to the home at hand. By assigning a dollar value to certain items such as upgraded appliances, additional bathrooms, 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 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 might sell for can only be determined once all differences between the comps and the subject have been evaluated. When it comes to putting a value on features of homes in Half Moon Bay and San Mateo, Hidden Creek Appraisal can't be beat. The sales comparison approach to value is typically given the most importance when an appraisal is for a real estate exchange.

Valuation Using the Income Approach

In the case of income producing properties - rental houses for example - we may use an additional way of valuing a property. In this case, the amount of revenue the property generates is factored in with income produced by similar properties to determine the current value.

The Bottom Line

Combining information from all applicable approaches, the appraiser is then ready to document an estimated market value for the property in question. The estimate of value on the appraisal report is not always the final sales price even though it is likely the best indication of a property's valueDepending 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 get back in the event they had to put the property on the market again. At the end of the day, an appraiser from Hidden Creek Appraisal will guarantee you attain the most accurate property value, so you can make wise real estate decisions.