Understanding Appraisals

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

The majority of the participants are quite familiar. The real estate agent is the most known person in the transaction. Next, the lender provides the money required to fund the exchange. And ensuring all areas of the exchange are completed and that the title is clear to pass 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's responsible for making 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 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 Sound Appraisal Group, Inc will ensure, you as an interested party, are informed.

The inspection is where an appraisal starts

Our first duty at Sound Appraisal Group, Inc is to inspect the property to ascertain its true status. We must actually view aspects of the property, such as the number of bedrooms and bathrooms, the location, and so on, to ensure they indeed are present and are in the condition a reasonable buyer would expect them to be. To ensure the stated size of the property is accurate and document the layout of the house, the inspection often entails creating a sketch of the floorplan. Most importantly, the appraiser identifies any obvious amenities - 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 real property: a paired sales analysis, a replacement cost calculation, and an income approach when rental properties are prevalent.

Replacement Cost

This is where the appraiser gathers information on local building costs, labor rates and other factors to determine how much it would cost to build a property nearly identical to the one being appraised. This figure often sets the upper limit on what a property would sell for. It's also the least used method.

Sales Comparison

Appraisers can tell you a lot about the neighborhoods in which they appraise. They thoroughly understand the value of particular 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 real estate being appraised. By assigning a dollar value to certain items such as square footage, additional bathrooms, hardwood floors, fireplaces or view lots (just to name a few), we add or subtract from each comparable's sales price so that they are more accurately in line with the features of subject.

  • Say, for example, the comparable property has a fireplace and the subject doesn't, the appraiser may deduct the value of a fireplace from the sales price of the comparable.
  • 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.

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 Sound Appraisal Group, Inc, we are experts in knowing the worth of particular items in Silverdale and Kitsap County neighborhoods. This approach to value is most often awarded the most weight when an appraisal is for a real estate sale.

Valuation Using the Income Approach

A third way of valuing approach to value is sometimes employed when a neighborhood has a measurable number of renter occupied properties. In this scenario, the amount of income the real estate generates is factored in with income produced by neighboring properties to give an indicator of the current value.

Arriving at a Value Conclusion

Combining information from all approaches, the appraiser is then ready to state 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 valueDepending 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.Regardless, the appraised value is typically used as a guideline for lenders who don't want to loan a buyer more money than the property is actually worth. Here's what it all boils down to, an appraiser from Sound Appraisal Group, Inc will guarantee you get the most accurate property value, so you can make profitable real estate decisions.