What Are the Components of an Appraisal?

Purchasing real estate can be the most significant transaction some will ever make. Whether it's where you raise your family, a second vacation home or one of many rentals, purchasing real property is an involved transaction that requires multiple parties to make it all happen.

It's likely you are familiar with the parties having a role in the transaction. The most recognizable person in the exchange is the real estate agent. Then, the bank provides the financial capital necessary to bankroll the deal. And ensuring all aspects of the sale are completed and that the title is clear to pass from the seller to the buyer is the title company.

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So, who makes sure the value of the real estate is consistent with the amount being paid? This is where you meet the appraiser. We provide an unbiased opinion 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 Shamrock Appraisals, Inc. will ensure, you as an interested party, are informed.

Appraisals begin with the home inspection

Our first duty at Shamrock Appraisals, Inc. is to inspect the property to ascertain its true status. We must actually see features, such as the number of bedrooms and bathrooms, the location, amenities, etc., to ensure they indeed are there and are in the condition a typical buyer would expect them to be. The inspection often includes a sketch of the house, ensuring the square footage is accurate and conveying the layout of the property. Most importantly, we look for any obvious amenities - or defects - that would affect the value of the house.

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

Cost Approach

Here, we gather information on local building costs, the cost of labor and other elements to figure out 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.

Sales Comparison

Appraisers can tell you a lot about the neighborhoods in which they work. They innately understand the value of specific features to the people of that area. Then, the appraiser researches recent sales in the neighborhood and finds properties which are 'comparable' to the home in question. By assigning a dollar value to certain items such as upgraded appliances, additional bathrooms, additional living area, quality of construction, lot size, 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 an extra half bath that the subject doesn't, the appraiser may deduct the value of that half bath 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.

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 Shamrock Appraisals, Inc., we are an authority when it comes to knowing the worth of real estate features in Tuscaloosa and Tuscaloosa County neighborhoods. The sales comparison approach to value is typically awarded the most consideration when an appraisal is for a home sale.

Valuation Using the Income Approach

In the case of income producing properties - rental houses for example - we may use an additional approach to value. In this situation, the amount of revenue the property produces is factored in with other rents in the area for comparable properties to determine the current value.

The Bottom Line

Combining information from all approaches, the appraiser is then ready to state an estimated market value for the property at hand. It is important to note that while the appraised value is probably the most reliable indication of what a house is worth, it probably will not be the price at which the property closes. 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 typically employed as a guideline for lenders who don't want to loan a buyer more money than they could recover in case they had to put the property on the market again. Here's what it all boils down to, an appraiser from Shamrock Appraisals, Inc. will guarantee you attain the most fair and balanced property value, so you can make wise real estate decisions.