Comprehending Appraisals

Getting a house is the largest transaction many of us might ever make. It doesn't matter if where you raise your family, an additional vacation property or a rental fixer upper, the purchase of real property is a detailed financial transaction that requires multiple parties to make it all happen.

Most of the participants are very familiar. The most familiar person in the exchange is the real estate agent. Then, the mortgage company provides the financial capital needed to bankroll the exchange. And ensuring all aspects of the exchange are completed and that the title is clear to transfer 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, what party makes sure the property is worth the purchase price? In comes the appraiser. We provide an unbiased estimate 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 All City Appraisal will ensure, you as an interested party, are informed.

Inspecting the subject property

Our first duty at All City Appraisal is to inspect the property to determine its true status. We must see aspects of the property first hand, such as the number of bedrooms and bathrooms, the location, amenities, etc., to ensure they really are there and are in the condition a reasonable buyer would expect them to be. The inspection often includes a sketch of the property, ensuring the square footage is proper and conveying the layout of the property. Most importantly, the appraiser identifies any obvious amenities - or defects - that would have an impact on the value of the property.

Once the site has been inspected, an appraiser uses two or three approaches to determining the value of real property: sales comparison and, in the case of a rental property, an income approach.

Cost Approach

This is where we use information on local building costs, labor rates and other elements to calculate how much it would cost to replace the property being appraised. This estimate often sets the upper limit on what a property would sell for. It's also the least used method.

Analyzing Comparable Sales

Appraisers can tell you a lot about the communities in which they appraise. They innately understand the value of particular features to the homeowners 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 being appraised. By assigning a dollar value to certain items such as upgraded appliances, extra bathrooms, additional living area, quality of construction, lot size, we add or subtract from each comparable's sales price so that they more accurately match the features of subject property.

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

An opinion of what the subject could 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 Woodland Hills and Los Angeles, All City Appraisal is your local authority. The sales comparison approach to value is most often given the most weight when an appraisal is for a real estate sale.

Valuation Using the Income Approach

A third method of valuing a house is sometimes applied when an area has a reasonable number of rental properties. In this scenario, the amount of income the property yields is factored in with other rents in the area for comparable properties to give an indicator of the current value.

Reconciliation

Examining the data from all applicable approaches, the appraiser is then ready to state an estimated market value for the property at hand. It is important to note that while this amount is probably the best indication of what a property is worth, it may not be the final sales price. There are always mitigating factors such as seller motivation, urgency or 'bidding wars' that may adjust an offer or listing price up or down. But the appraised value is often employed as a guideline for lenders who don't want to loan a buyer more money than they could get back in case they had to sell the property again. At the end of the day, an appraiser from All City Appraisal will guarantee you attain the most fair and balanced property value, so you can make the most informed real estate decisions.

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