What Goes Into an Appraisal?

Purchasing a house can be the most serious transaction most could ever encounter. Whether it's where you raise your family, a second vacation property or an investment, purchasing real property is an involved financial transaction that requires multiple people working in concert to pull it all off.

Most of the participants are very familiar. The real estate agent is the most known person in the exchange. Then, the lender provides the money needed to finance the exchange. And ensuring all requirements of the sale 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, what party is responsible for making sure the value of the property is in line with the amount being paid? This is where you meet the appraiser. We provide an unbiased estimate of what a buyer could expect to pay — or a seller receive — for a property, where both buyer and seller are informed parties. A licensed, certified, professional appraiser from REMACE, LTD. will ensure, you as an interested party, are informed.

Appraisals begin with the inspection

Our first task at REMACE, LTD. is to inspect the property to ascertain its true status. We must actually view features, such as the number of bedrooms and bathrooms, the location, amenities, etc., to ensure they indeed exist and are in the condition a reasonable buyer would expect them to be. To make sure the stated size of the property is accurate and illustrate the layout of the property, the inspection often requires creating a sketch of the floorplan. Most importantly, the appraiser looks for any obvious features - or defects - that would have an impact on the value of the property.

Following the inspection, we use two or three approaches to determining the value of real property: paired sales analysis and, in the case of a rental property, an income approach.

Cost Approach

This is where the appraiser uses information on local building costs, the cost of labor and other elements to calculate how much it would cost to replace the property being appraised. This estimate usually sets the upper limit on what a property would sell for. It's also the least used predictor of value.

Paired Sales Analysis

Appraisers become very familiar with the communities in which they work. They thoroughly understand the value of specific features to the people of that area. Then, the appraiser looks up recent sales in the area and finds properties which are 'comparable' to the home being appraised. By assigning a dollar value to certain items such as fireplaces, room layout, appliance upgrades, extra bathrooms or bedrooms, or quality of construction, we adjust the comparable properties so that they are more accurately in line with the features of subject property.

  • For example, if the comparable property has a storm shelter and the subject doesn't, the appraiser may deduct the value of a storm shelter from the sales price of the comparable.
  • If the subject property has an extra half-bathroom and the comparable does not, the appraiser might add an amount 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 REMACE, LTD., we are an authority in knowing the value of real estate features in York and York County neighborhoods. The sales comparison approach to value is most often given the most consideration 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 a third method of valuing real estate. In this case, the amount of revenue the real estate produces is factored in with other rents in the area for comparable properties to determine the current value.

Arriving at a Value Conclusion

Combining information from all approaches, the appraiser is then ready to stipulate an estimated market value for the property at hand. Note: While this amount is probably the strongest indication of what a house is worth, it probably will not be the final sales price. 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 the property is actually worth. At the end of the day, an appraiser from REMACE, LTD. will guarantee you discover the most fair and balanced property value, so you can make the most informed real estate decisions.