Understanding Appraisals

Buying a home can be the most significant financial decision some could ever encounter. It doesn't matter if a main residence, a second vacation home or one of many rentals, purchasing real property is an involved transaction that requires multiple parties to pull it all off.

It's likely you are familiar with the parties having a role in the transaction. The real estate agent is the most recognizable person in the exchange. Next, the bank provides the financial capital necessary to bankroll the exchange. The title company sees to it that all aspects of the exchange are completed and that the title is clear to transfer from the seller to the purchaser.

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 real estate is worth the amount being paid? 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 All City Appraisal will ensure, you as an interested party, are informed.

Appraisals start with the home inspection

Our first duty at All City Appraisal is to inspect the property to determine its true status. We must physically view features, such as the number of bedrooms and bathrooms, the location, amenities, etc., to ensure they really are there and are in the shape a typical person would expect them to be. The inspection often includes a sketch of the floorplan, ensuring the square footage is proper and conveying the layout of the property. Most importantly, we identify any obvious features - or defects - that would affect the value of the property.

After the inspection, an appraiser uses 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, we use information on local construction costs, the cost of labor and other elements to figure out how much it would cost to replace the property being appraised. This figure 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 vicinity and finds properties which are 'comparable' to the home at hand. By assigning a dollar value to certain items such as remodeled rooms, types of flooring, energy efficient items, patios and porches, or extra storage space, we add or subtract from each comparable's sales price so that they more accurately portray the features of subject.

  • For example, if the comparable property has an irrigation system and the subject doesn't, the appraiser may deduct the value of an irrigation system from the sales price of the comparable home.
  • However, if the subject property has an extra half-bathroom and the comparable does not, the appraiser might add an amount to the comparable property.

After all differences have been accounted for, the appraiser reconciles the adjusted sales prices of all the comps and then derives an opinion of what the subject could sell for. At All City Appraisal, we are an authority when it comes to knowing the worth of real estate features in Woodland Hills and Los Angeles County neighborhoods. The sales comparison approach to value is typically given the most importance when an appraisal is for a real estate sale.

Valuation Using the Income Approach

A third way of valuing a property is sometimes applied when a neighborhood has a reasonable number of renter occupied properties. In this scenario, the amount of income the real estate generates is factored in with other rents in the area for comparable properties to give an indicator of the current value.

Coming Up With The Final Value

Examining the data from all approaches, the appraiser is then ready to state an estimated market value for the subject property. Note: While the appraised value is probably the strongest indication of what a property is worth, it may 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. But the appraised value is typically used as a guideline for lenders who don't want to loan a buyer more money than they could recover in case they had to sell the property again. At the end of the day, an appraiser from All City Appraisal will guarantee you discover the most fair and balanced property value, so you can make wise real estate decisions.

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