Home Appraisals: A Primer

Getting a home can be the most significant investment most might ever consider. Whether it's a primary residence, a second vacation home or one of many rentals, the purchase of real property is a detailed financial transaction that requires multiple parties to make it all happen.

You're likely to be familiar with the parties taking part in the transaction. The most familiar entity in the transaction is the real estate agent. Then, the bank provides the financial capital necessary to finance the exchange. And the title company sees to it that all details of the exchange are completed and that the title is clear to pass to the buyer from the seller.

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 real estate is worth the purchase price? In comes the appraiser. We provide an unbiased opinion 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 Daniel Todd Appraisal Services, LLC will ensure, you as an interested party, are informed.

Appraisals begin with the property inspection

Our first task at Daniel Todd Appraisal Services, LLC is to inspect the property to determine its true status. We must physically see features, such as the number of bedrooms and bathrooms, the location, living areas, etc, to ensure they indeed are there and are in the shape a typical buyer would expect them to be. To ensure the stated square footage has not been misrepresented and convey the layout of the property, the inspection often entails creating a sketch of the floorplan. Most importantly, the appraiser identifies any obvious amenities - or defects - that would have an impact on the value of the house.

Following the inspection, we use two or three approaches to determining the value of the property: paired sales analysis and, in the case of a rental property, an income approach.

Cost Approach

Here, we use information on local construction costs, the cost of labor and other elements to determine how much it would cost to replace the property being appraised. This figure often sets the upper limit on what a property would sell for. The cost approach is also the least used predictor of value.

Paired Sales Analysis

Appraisers become very familiar with the subdivisions in which they appraise. They thoroughly understand the value of particular features to the homeowners 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. By assigning a dollar value to certain items such as square footage, extra bathrooms, hardwood floors, fireplaces or view lots (just to name a few), we adjust the comparable properties so that they are more accurately in line with the features of subject property.

  • If, for example, the comparable property has a storm shelter and the subject does not, the appraiser may subtract the value of a storm shelter from the sales price of the comparable.
  • However, if the subject has an extra half-bathroom and the comparable does not, the appraiser might add an amount to the comparable property.

An opinion of what the subject might 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 Bloomington and Monroe, Daniel Todd Appraisal Services, LLC can't be beat. This approach to value is commonly given the most importance when an appraisal is for a home exchange.

Valuation Using the Income Approach

A third way of valuing approach to value is sometimes used when a neighborhood has a reasonable number of renter occupied properties. In this situation, the amount of revenue the real estate generates is taken into consideration along with other rents in the area for comparable properties to give an indicator of the current value.

Reconciliation

Combining information from all approaches, the appraiser is then ready to state an estimated market value for the property in question. The estimate of value at the bottom of the appraisal report is not always 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 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 the property is actually worth. The bottom line is, an appraiser from Daniel Todd Appraisal Services, LLC will help you get the most fair and balanced property value, so you can make wise real estate decisions.