Real Property Appraisals: A Primer

Getting a house can be the most important financial decision some people could ever consider. Whether it's a primary residence, a second vacation home or an investment, the purchase of real property is an involved financial transaction that requires multiple people working in concert to make it all happen.

You're probably familiar with the parties taking part in the transaction. The real estate agent is the most familiar entity in the transaction. Next, the lender provides the money necessary to fund the exchange. The title company ensures that all requirements of the exchange are completed and that the title is clear to pass 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 makes sure the value of the property is in line with the purchase price? 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 Gold Coast Appraisal Group LLC will ensure, you as an interested party, are informed.

The inspection is where an appraisal starts

Our first task at Gold Coast Appraisal Group LLC 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 present and are in the shape a reasonable buyer would expect them to be. The inspection often includes a sketch of the property, ensuring the square footage is proper and conveying the layout of the property. Most importantly, we look for any obvious amenities - or defects - that would have an impact on the value of the property.

Following the inspection, an appraiser uses two or three approaches to determining the value of real property: sales comparison and, in the case of a rental property, an income approach.

Replacement Cost

Here, we pull information on local construction costs, labor rates and other elements to determine how much it would cost to construct 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 get to know the communities in which they work. They innately understand the value of certain features to the homeowners of that area. Then, the appraiser researches recent transactions in close proximity to the subject and finds properties which are 'comparable' to the property in question. 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 adjust the comparable properties so that they are more accurately in line with the features of subject property.

  • If, for example, the comparable property 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 a certain amount to the comparable property.

A true estimate of what the subject could sell for can only be determined once all differences between the comps and the subject have been evaluated. When it comes to putting a value on features of homes in Cliffside Park and Bergen, Gold Coast Appraisal Group LLC can't be beat. This approach to value is commonly 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 yields is factored in with income produced by comparable properties to determine the current value.

The Bottom Line

Analyzing the data from all approaches, the appraiser is then ready to stipulate an estimated market value for the property in question. The estimate of value at the bottom of the appraisal report is not necessarily what's being paid for the property even though it is likely the best indication of a property's valueThere are always mitigating factors such as the seller's desire to get out of the property, urgency or 'bidding wars' that may adjust the final price 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 they could get back in the event they had to sell the property again. Here's what it all boils down to, an appraiser from Gold Coast Appraisal Group LLC will guarantee you discover the most fair and balanced property value, so you can make wise real estate decisions.