What Are the Components of an Appraisal?

Buying a home can be the most significant financial decision many people might ever encounter. It doesn't matter if a primary residence, a second vacation home or an investment, purchasing real property is an involved financial transaction that requires multiple parties to see it through.

Practically all the participants are quite familiar. The most known face in the exchange is the real estate agent. Next, the bank provides the financial capital necessary to bankroll the deal. And ensuring all areas of the exchange 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 real estate is in line with the purchase price? This is where the appraiser comes in. 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 Premier Appraisal of SoCal will ensure, you as an interested party, are informed.

Inspecting the subject property

Our first duty at Premier Appraisal of SoCal is to inspect the property to ascertain its true status. We must see aspects of the property first hand, such as the number of bedrooms and bathrooms, the location, living areas, etc, to ensure they indeed are there and are in the shape a typical person would expect them to be. To ensure the stated square footage has not been misrepresented and document the layout of the home, the inspection often includes creating a sketch of the floorplan. Most importantly, the appraiser identifies any obvious features - or defects - that would affect the value of the property.

Once the site has been inspected, an appraiser uses 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 building costs, labor rates and other elements to derive how much it would cost to replace the property 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 get to know the neighborhoods in which they appraise. They innately understand the value of particular features to the residents of that area. Then, the appraiser researches recent transactions in the vicinity and finds properties which are 'comparable' to the real estate being appraised. Using knowledge of the value of certain items such as square footage, extra bathrooms, hardwood floors, fireplaces or view lots (just to name a few), we add or subtract from each comparable's sales price so that they are more accurately in line with the features of subject property.

  • For example, if the comparable property has an irrigation system and the subject doesn't, the appraiser may deduct the value of an irrigation system 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.

After all differences have been accounted for, the appraiser reconciles the adjusted sales prices of all the comps and then derives an opinion of what the subject could sell for. When it comes to knowing the true value of features of homes in Mission Viejo and Orange, Premier Appraisal of SoCal is your local authority. This approach to value is commonly given the most importance when an appraisal is for a home sale.

Valuation Using the Income Approach

A third method of valuing a property is sometimes applied when a neighborhood has a reasonable number of rental properties. In this case, the amount of income the real estate produces is factored in with income produced by similar properties to determine the current value.

Putting It All Together

Examining the data from all 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 may not be the final sales price. 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 is actually worth. It all comes down to this, an appraiser from Premier Appraisal of SoCal will guarantee you attain the most fair and balanced property value, so you can make wise real estate decisions.