What Is an Appraisal?

Their home's purchase is the most serious investment some of us may ever encounter. It doesn't matter if 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.

Practically all the people participating are very familiar. The real estate agent is the most recognizable person in the transaction. Next, the lender provides the money required to finance the exchange. And the title company sees to it that all areas of the exchange are completed and that the title is clear to transfer from the seller to the buyer.

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 property is worth the amount being paid? This is where the appraiser comes in. 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 Sound Appraisal Group, Inc will ensure, you as an interested party, are informed.

The inspection is where an appraisal begins

Our first task at Sound Appraisal Group, Inc is to inspect the property to ascertain its true status. We must see aspects of the property hands on, such as the number of bedrooms and bathrooms, the location, amenities, etc., to ensure they really are there and are in the shape a reasonable person would expect them to be. To make sure the stated square footage has not been misrepresented and describe the layout of the property, the inspection often includes creating a sketch of the floorplan. Most importantly, the appraiser looks for any obvious amenities - or defects - that would have an impact on the value of the house.

Once the site has been inspected, 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

This is where the appraiser pulls information on local building costs, the cost of labor and other factors to derive how much it would cost to build a property similar to the one being appraised. This estimate often sets the maximum on what a property would sell for. It's also the least used method.

Sales Comparison

Appraisers become very familiar with the communities in which they work. They thoroughly understand the value of certain 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. Using knowledge of the value of certain items such as fireplaces, room layout, appliance upgrades, extra bathrooms or bedrooms, or quality of construction, 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 a storm shelter and the subject doesn't, the appraiser may deduct the value of a storm shelter from the sales price of the comparable home.
  • 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.

An opinion 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 knowing the true worth of features of homes in Silverdale and Kitsap, Sound Appraisal Group, Inc can't be beat. The sales comparison approach to value is typically awarded the most weight when an appraisal is for a home purchase.

Valuation Using the Income Approach

A third method of valuing real estate is sometimes employed when an area has a measurable number of rental properties. In this case, the amount of revenue the property produces is factored in with other rents in the area for comparable properties to determine the current value.

Reconciliation

Analyzing the data from all applicable approaches, the appraiser is then ready to put down an estimated market value for the subject property. The estimate of value at the bottom of the appraisal report is not necessarily the final sales price even though it is likely the best indication of a property's valuePrices can always be driven up or down by extenuating circumstances like the motivation or urgency of a seller or 'bidding wars'. Regardless, the appraised value is often employed as a guideline for lenders who don't want to loan a buyer more money than the property is actually worth. At the end of the day, an appraiser from Sound Appraisal Group, Inc will help you get the most fair and balanced property value, so you can make the most informed real estate decisions.