What Goes Into an Appraisal?
Buying a home can be the largest investment some people could ever encounter. Whether it's where you raise your family, a second vacation property or an investment, the purchase of real property is a complex financial transaction that requires multiple people working in concert to see it through.
The majority of the parties participating are very familiar. The most familiar person in the exchange is the real estate agent. Then, the bank provides the money needed to finance the deal. And the title company ensures that all aspects of the sale are completed and that the title is clear to transfer from the seller to the buyer.
So, who makes sure the value of the property is consistent with 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 ARA Real Estate Appraisals, Inc. will ensure, you as an interested party, are informed.
Inspecting the subject property
To ascertain the true status of the property, it's our responsibility to first perform a thorough inspection. We must see aspects of the property hands on, such as the number of bedrooms and bathrooms, the location, living areas, etc, to ensure they indeed exist and are in the condition a typical person would expect them to be. To ensure the stated size of the property is accurate and describe the layout of the home, the inspection often entails creating a sketch of the floorplan. Most importantly, we look for any obvious features - or defects - that would affect the value of the house.
Once the site has been inspected, we use 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.
Here, the appraiser pulls information on local construction costs, labor rates and other elements to derive how much it would cost to construct a property similar to the one being appraised. This estimate often sets the maximum on what a property would sell for. It's also the least used method.
Analyzing Comparable Sales
Appraisers are intimately familiar with the neighborhoods in which they work. They innately understand the value of specific features to the residents of that area. Then, the appraiser researches recent transactions in close proximity to the subject and finds properties which are 'comparable' to the property at hand. Using knowledge of the value of 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 are more accurately in line with the features of subject.
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. At ARA Real Estate Appraisals, Inc., we are an authority when it comes to knowing the worth of real estate features in Diamond Bar and Los Angeles County neighborhoods. This approach to value is commonly awarded the most importance when an appraisal is for a real estate sale.
Valuation Using the Income Approach
A third method of valuing real estate is sometimes applied when a neighborhood has a measurable number of rental properties. In this scenario, the amount of revenue the property produces is taken into consideration along with other rents in the area for comparable properties to give an indicator of the current value.
Putting It All Together
Analyzing the data from all applicable approaches, the appraiser is then ready to state an estimated market value for the property in question. The estimate of value on the appraisal report is not necessarily what's being paid for the property even though it is likely the best indication of what a property is worth. There are always mitigating factors such as seller motivation, urgency or 'bidding wars' that may adjust the final 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 the property is actually worth. Here's what it all boils down to, an appraiser from ARA Real Estate Appraisals, Inc. will help you attain the most accurate property value, so you can make wise real estate decisions.