What Goes Into an Appraisal?

A home purchase is the most significant investment many people might ever encounter. It doesn't matter if where you raise your family, an additional vacation property or an investment, purchasing real property is a detailed transaction that requires multiple people working in concert to see it through.

Most people are familiar with the parties taking part in the transaction. The most familiar person in the exchange is the real estate agent. Next, the mortgage company provides the financial capital required to bankroll the deal. And ensuring all aspects of the transaction are completed and that a clear title transfers from the seller to the purchaser 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 is responsible for making sure the real estate 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 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 task at All City Appraisal is to inspect the property to determine its true status. We must physically see aspects of the property, such as the number of bedrooms and bathrooms, the location, and so on, to ensure they really exist 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 correct and illustrating the layout of the property. Most importantly, we look for 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 real property: sales comparison and, in the case of a rental property, an income approach.

Cost Approach

Here, the appraiser analyzes information on local construction costs, the cost of labor and other factors to figure out how much it would cost to construct a property nearly identical to the one 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 can tell you a lot about the communities in which they appraise. They innately understand the value of certain features to the people of that area. Then, the appraiser researches recent sales in the area and finds properties which are 'comparable' to the subject in question. Using knowledge of the value of certain items such as remodeled rooms, types of flooring, energy efficient items, patios and porches, or additional storage space, we adjust the comparable properties so that they are more accurately in line with the features of subject.

  • If, for example, 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.
  • 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.

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. At All City Appraisal, we are experts when it comes to knowing the worth of particular items in Woodland Hills and Los Angeles County neighborhoods. The sales comparison approach to value is commonly given the most consideration when an appraisal is for a home purchase.

Valuation Using the Income Approach

A third way of valuing a property is sometimes applied when an area has a reasonable number of renter occupied properties. In this scenario, the amount of income the property yields is taken into consideration along with income produced by comparable properties to derive the current value.

Putting It All Together

Examining the data from all applicable approaches, the appraiser is then ready to state 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 a property's valueThere are always mitigating factors such as the seller's desire to get out of the property, urgency or 'bidding wars' that may adjust an offer or listing price up or down. But the appraised value is often used as a guideline for lenders who don't want to loan a buyer more money than they could get back in the event they had to put the property on the market again. The bottom line is, an appraiser from All City Appraisal will guarantee you discover the most fair and balanced property value, so you can make the most informed real estate decisions.

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