Real Property Appraisals: A Primer

Buying real estate can be the most significant investment most could ever encounter. It doesn't matter if a primary residence, a second vacation home or one of many rentals, the purchase of real property is a complex financial transaction that requires multiple people working in concert to pull it all off.

Most people are familiar with the parties having a role in the transaction. The most known entity in the exchange is the real estate agent. Next, the lender provides the money required to fund the transaction. And the title company ensures that all requirements of the transaction are completed and that the title is clear to transfer 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 value of the property is consistent with the purchase price? In comes the appraiser. We provide an unbiased estimate of what a buyer could 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.

Inspecting the subject property

Our first responsibility at Baseline Appraisals (440)315-6387 is to inspect the property to ascertain its true status. We must see features hands on, such as the number of bedrooms and bathrooms, the location, living areas, etc, to ensure they really are there and are in the shape a reasonable person would expect them to be. The inspection often includes a sketch of the property, ensuring the square footage is accurate and conveying the layout of the property. Most importantly, we look for any obvious amenities - or defects - that would affect the value of the property.

Next, after the inspection, we use two or three approaches to determining the value of real property: paired sales analysis and, in the case of a rental property, an income approach.

Replacement Cost

This is where the appraiser uses information on local building costs, the cost of labor and other factors to ascertain how much it would cost to construct a property comparable to the one being appraised. This estimate commonly sets the upper limit on what a property would sell for. It's also the least used method.

Analyzing Comparable Sales

Appraisers become very familiar with the neighborhoods in which they appraise. They innately understand the value of particular features to the people of that area. Then, the appraiser researches recent transactions in the area and finds properties which are 'comparable' to the real estate being appraised. Using knowledge of the value of 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 has an extra half bath that the subject does not, the appraiser may subtract the value of that half bath from the sales price of the comparable.
  • If the subject property has an extra half-bathroom and the comparable does not, the appraiser might add an amount to the comparable property.

An opinion 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 valuing features of homes in Elyria and Lorain, Baseline Appraisals (440)315-6387 can't be beat. 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 method of valuing a house. In this situation, the amount of revenue the real estate produces is taken into consideration along with income produced by nearby properties to derive the current value.

The Bottom Line

Analyzing the data from all approaches, the appraiser is then ready to document an estimated market value for the property at hand. Note: While the appraised value is probably the best indication of what a house is worth, it probably will not be the price at which the property closes. There 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. Regardless, the appraised value is often 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 put the property on the market again. Here's what it all boils down to, an appraiser from Baseline Appraisals (440)315-6387 will help you attain the most fair and balanced property value, so you can make wise real estate decisions.