Making Sense of the Appraisal Process
A home purchase is the most important financial decision some people might ever make. It doesn't matter if a main residence, a second vacation property or one of many rentals, the purchase of real property is an involved 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 recognizable face in the transaction is the real estate agent. Next, the lender provides the money necessary to bankroll the transaction. And ensuring all aspects of the sale are completed and that a clear title passes to the buyer from the seller is the title company.
So, who makes sure the value of the real estate is in line with the amount being paid? This is where you meet the appraiser. We provide an unbiased estimate of what a buyer could expect to pay — or a seller receive — for a property, where both buyer and seller are informed parties. A licensed, certified, professional appraiser from Southern Star Real Estate Services will ensure, you as an interested party, are informed.
Inspecting the subject property
Our first task at Southern Star Real Estate Services is to inspect the property to determine its true status. We must actually see features, such as the number of bedrooms and bathrooms, the location, living areas, etc, to ensure they indeed are present and are in the condition a typical person would expect them to be. To ensure the stated size of the property is accurate and convey the layout of the home, the inspection often requires creating a sketch of the floorplan. Most importantly, we identify any obvious features - or defects - that would affect the value of the house.
Following the inspection, we use two or three approaches to determining the value of the property: a paired sales analysis, a replacement cost calculation, and an income approach when rental properties are prevalent.
Here, the appraiser analyzes information on local building costs, labor rates and other factors to determine how much it would cost to build a property nearly identical to the one being appraised. This estimate usually sets the maximum on what a property would sell for. It's also the least used predictor of value.
Paired Sales Analysis
Appraisers are intimately familiar with the communities in which they work. They thoroughly 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 real estate at hand. By assigning a dollar value to certain items such as square footage, additional bathrooms, hardwood floors, fireplaces or view lots (just to name a few), we adjust the comparable properties so that they more accurately portray the features of subject 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 Southern Star Real Estate Services, we are an authority in knowing the worth of real estate features in Powder Springs and Paulding County neighborhoods. The sales comparison approach to value is commonly awarded the most importance when an appraisal is for a home purchase.
Valuation Using the Income Approach
A third way of valuing a house is sometimes employed when an area has a measurable number of renter occupied properties. In this scenario, the amount of income the real estate generates is taken into consideration along with income produced by neighboring properties to derive the current value.
The Bottom Line
Examining the data from all approaches, the appraiser is then ready to stipulate an estimated market value for the subject property. It is important to note that while the appraised value is probably the most reliable indication of what a property is worth, it probably will not be the final sales price. Depending on the individual circumstances of the buyer or seller, their level of urgency or a buyer's desire for that exact property, the closing price of a home can always be driven 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 the property is actually worth. At the end of the day, an appraiser from Southern Star Real Estate Services will help you discover the most fair and balanced property value, so you can make profitable real estate decisions.