What Is an Appraisal?

Purchasing a house is the biggest investment many could ever make. It doesn't matter if where you raise your family, a seasonal vacation home or a rental fixer upper, purchasing real property is a detailed financial transaction that requires multiple people working in concert to see it through.

You're likely to be familiar with the parties taking part in the transaction. The real estate agent is the most known face in the exchange. Then, the mortgage company provides the money necessary to fund the exchange. And ensuring all requirements of the exchange are completed and that the title is clear to transfer to the buyer from the seller is the title company.

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So, what party makes sure the property is worth the amount being paid? In comes the appraiser. We provide an unbiased opinion of what a buyer might expect to pay — or a seller receive — for a parcel of real estate, where both buyer and seller are informed parties. A licensed, certified, professional appraiser from Baseline Appraisals (440)315-6387 will ensure, you as an interested party, are informed.

The inspection is where an appraisal starts

Our first duty at Baseline Appraisals (440)315-6387 is to inspect the property to ascertain its true status. We must actually view features, such as the number of bedrooms and bathrooms, the location, living areas, etc, to ensure they indeed are present and are in the condition a reasonable person would expect them to be. The inspection often includes a sketch of the house, ensuring the square footage is correct and conveying the layout of the property. Most importantly, the appraiser identifies any obvious features - or defects - that would have an impact on the value of the property.

After the inspection, we use 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, the appraiser analyzes information on local construction costs, the cost of labor and other elements to derive how much it would cost to build a property nearly identical to the one being appraised. This value usually sets the upper limit on what a property would sell for. It's also the least used method.

Sales Comparison

Appraisers become very familiar with the subdivisions in which they appraise. They thoroughly understand the value of specific features to the homeowners of that area. Then, the appraiser researches recent sales in close proximity to the subject and finds properties which are 'comparable' to the subject at hand. 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 more accurately portray the features of subject.

  • For example, if the comparable property has a fireplace and the subject does not, the appraiser may subtract the value of a fireplace from the sales price of the comparable.
  • But, 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 true estimate of what the subject might 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 value of features of homes in Elyria and Lorain, Baseline Appraisals (440)315-6387 can't be beat. This approach to value is commonly awarded 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 an additional way of valuing a property. In this situation, the amount of income the property generates is factored in with income produced by comparable properties to derive the current value.

Coming Up With The Final Value

Examining the data from all applicable approaches, the appraiser is then ready to stipulate an estimated market value for the property in question. Note: While the appraised value is probably the most reliable indication of what a house is worth, it probably will not be the final sales price. It's not uncommon for prices to be driven up or down by extenuating circumstances like the motivation or urgency of a seller or 'bidding wars'. 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 the event they had to sell the property again. At the end of the day, an appraiser from Baseline Appraisals (440)315-6387 will help you discover the most accurate property value, so you can make the most informed real estate decisions.