What Are the Parts of an Appraisal?

Buying a home is the largest investment most people could ever make. It doesn't matter if where you raise your family, a second vacation home or one of many rentals, the purchase of real property is an involved transaction that requires multiple people working in concert to see it through.

It's likely you are familiar with the parties taking part in the transaction. The most recognizable entity in the exchange is the real estate agent. Then, the lender provides the financial capital required to finance the deal. And ensuring all details of the transaction 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 property is worth 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 licensed, certified, professional appraiser from Joseph Mier & Associates will ensure, you as an interested party, are informed.

Appraisals start with the inspection

Our first duty at Joseph Mier & Associates is to inspect the property to determine its true status. We must see aspects of the property hands on, such as the number of bedrooms and bathrooms, the location, and so on, to ensure they really are there and are in the condition a typical person would expect them to be. To make sure the stated square footage is accurate and document the layout of the home, the inspection often entails creating a sketch of the floorplan. Most importantly, we look for any obvious features - or defects - that would affect the value of the house.

Back at the office, 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, the appraiser uses information on local building costs, the cost of labor and other elements to determine how much it would cost to construct a property similar to the one being appraised. This estimate usually sets the upper limit on what a property would sell for. The cost approach is also the least used predictor of value.

Sales Comparison

Appraisers can tell you a lot about the subdivisions in which they work. They innately understand the value of certain features to the homeowners of that area. Then, the appraiser researches recent sales in the area and finds properties which are 'comparable' to the home being appraised. Using knowledge of the value of certain items such as remodeled rooms, types of flooring, energy efficient items, patios and porches, or additional storage space, we adjust the comparable properties so that they are more accurately in line with the features of subject.

  • If, for example, the comparable has a fireplace and the subject does not, the appraiser may subtract the value of a fireplace from the sales price of the comparable.
  • But, 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.

In the end, the appraiser reconciles the adjusted sales prices of all the comps and then derives an opinion of what the subject could sell for. At Joseph Mier & Associates, we are an authority when it comes to knowing the value of real estate features in Hammond and Tangipahoa County neighborhoods. This approach to value is usually awarded the most importance when an appraisal is for a home exchange.

Valuation Using the Income Approach

In the case of income producing properties - rental houses for example - the appraiser may use an additional method of valuing a house. In this scenario, the amount of income the property produces is factored in with other rents in the area for comparable properties to determine the current value.

Arriving at a Value Conclusion

Examining the data from all approaches, the appraiser is then ready to document an estimated market value for the subject property. The estimate of value on the appraisal report is not always what's being paid for the property even though it is likely the best indication of what a property is worth. Depending on the individual circumstances 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 typically employed 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. Here's what it all boils down to, an appraiser from Joseph Mier & Associates will help you attain the most accurate property value, so you can make the most informed real estate decisions.