What Is an Appraisal?

Their home's purchase can be the largest financial decision many of us might ever consider. It doesn't matter if where you raise your family, an additional vacation property or one of many rentals, the purchase of real property is a complex financial transaction that requires multiple people working in concert to see it through.

Practically all the parties involved are very familiar. The most familiar entity in the transaction is the real estate agent. Then, the bank provides the financial capital needed to finance the deal. The title company ensures that all areas of the transaction are completed and that a clear title transfers to the buyer from the seller.

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

So, who makes sure the property is worth the purchase price? In comes the appraiser. 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 Baseline Appraisals (440)315-6387 will ensure, you as an interested party, are informed.

The inspection is where an appraisal begins

To ascertain an accurate status of the property, it's our responsibility to first perform a thorough inspection. We must actually view features, such as the number of bedrooms and bathrooms, the location, amenities, etc., to ensure they really exist and are in the condition a reasonable person would expect them to be. To ensure 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 identify any obvious features - or defects - that would have an impact on the value of the property.

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

Cost Approach

This is where the appraiser pulls information on local construction costs, labor rates and other elements to derive how much it would cost to construct a property nearly identical to the one being appraised. This value commonly sets the upper limit on what a property would sell for. The cost approach is also the least used predictor of value.

Sales Comparison

Appraisers get to know the subdivisions in which they appraise. They innately understand the value of specific features to the people of that area. Then, the appraiser looks up recent transactions in close proximity to the subject and finds properties which are 'comparable' to the real estate at hand. By assigning a dollar value to certain items such as remodeled rooms, types of flooring, energy efficient items, patios and porches, or additional storage space, we add or subtract from each comparable's sales price so that they are more accurately in line with the features of subject property.

  • Say, for example, the comparable property has a storm shelter and the subject doesn't, the appraiser may subtract the value of a storm shelter 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.

Once all necessary adjustments have been made, the appraiser reconciles the adjusted sales prices of all the comps and then derives an opinion of what the subject could sell for. When it comes to associating a value with features of homes in Elyria and Lorain, Baseline Appraisals (440)315-6387 is your local authority. The sales comparison approach to value is usually given the most consideration when an appraisal is for a home purchase.

Valuation Using the Income Approach

In the case of income producing properties - rental houses for example - the appraiser may use a third approach to value. In this scenario, the amount of revenue the property yields is taken into consideration along with other rents in the area for comparable properties to give an indicator of the current value.

The Bottom Line

Examining the data from all approaches, the appraiser is then ready to put down an estimated market value for the subject property. The estimate of value on the appraisal report is not always the final sales price even though it is likely the best indication of what a property is worth. Depending 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.But 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. It all comes down to this, an appraiser from Baseline Appraisals (440)315-6387 will help you discover the most accurate property value, so you can make wise real estate decisions.