Real Estate Appraisals: A Primer

Purchasing a home is the most important transaction some people will ever consider. It doesn't matter if a main 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.

You're likely to be familiar with the parties taking part in the transaction. The most recognizable face in the transaction is the real estate agent. Then, the mortgage company provides the financial capital required to fund the exchange. The title company makes sure that all aspects of the transaction are completed and that the title is clear to transfer from the seller to the purchaser.

To learn more about appraising, click here to see a short video or call us today to talk about your specific property.

So, what party is responsible for making sure the property is worth the amount being paid? In comes 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 Lundquist Appraisals & Real Estate Services will ensure, you as an interested party, are informed.

Appraisals begin with the property inspection

Our first responsibility at Lundquist Appraisals & Real Estate Services 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 exist and are in the condition a typical person would expect them to be. To make sure the stated square footage has not been misrepresented and describe the layout of the house, the inspection often requires 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: a paired sales analysis, a replacement cost calculation, and an income approach when rental properties are prevalent.

Replacement Cost

This is where we gather information on local building costs, the cost of labor and other factors to ascertain how much it would cost to build a property nearly identical to the one being appraised. This figure usually sets the maximum on what a property would sell for. It's also the least used predictor of value.

Analyzing Comparable Sales

Appraisers can tell you a lot about the subdivisions in which they work. They thoroughly 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 real estate being appraised. By assigning a dollar value to certain items such as upgraded appliances, extra bathrooms, additional living area, quality of construction, lot size, we add or subtract from each comparable's sales price so that they more accurately portray the features of subject.

  • For example, if the comparable has a fireplace and the subject doesn't, the appraiser may subtract the value of a fireplace from the sales price of the comparable home.
  • If the subject has an extra half-bathroom and the comparable does not, the appraiser might add an amount to the comparable property.

A valid estimate of what the subject could sell for can only be determined once all differences between the comps and the subject have been evaluated. At Lundquist Appraisals & Real Estate Services, we are experts in knowing the value of particular items in Wabash and Wabash County neighborhoods. The sales comparison approach to value is typically given the most weight 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 generates 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 stipulate an estimated market value for the property at hand. The estimate of value at the bottom of the appraisal report is not always what's being paid for the property 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 often 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. At the end of the day, an appraiser from Lundquist Appraisals & Real Estate Services will guarantee you get the most accurate property value, so you can make wise real estate decisions.