Real Property Appraisals: A Primer

Their home's purchase is the largest financial decision most people will ever encounter. It doesn't matter if where you raise your family, a second vacation property or an investment, the purchase of real property is an involved transaction that requires multiple people working in concert to pull it all off.

The majority of the participants are quite familiar. The real estate agent is the most familiar face in the transaction. Next, the bank provides the financial capital necessary to bankroll the exchange. The title company makes sure that all aspects of the transaction are completed and that a clear title passes 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 is responsible for making sure the property is worth the amount being paid? In comes the appraiser. We provide an unbiased estimate of what a buyer might expect to pay — or a seller receive — for a property, where both buyer and seller are informed parties. A licensed, certified, professional appraiser from Gregory James Company, Inc. will ensure, you as an interested party, are informed.

The inspection is where an appraisal starts

To determine an accurate status of the property, it's our duty to first conduct a thorough inspection. We must see aspects of the property hands on, such as the number of bedrooms and bathrooms, the location, amenities, etc., to ensure they really are present and are in the shape a typical buyer would expect them to be. The inspection often includes a sketch of the property, ensuring the square footage is accurate and conveying the layout of the property. Most importantly, we identify any obvious features - or defects - that would affect the value of the house.

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

Replacement Cost

This is where the appraiser pulls information on local building costs, labor rates and other elements to figure out how much it would cost to replace the property being appraised. This figure commonly sets the maximum on what a property would sell for. The cost approach is also the least used method.

Paired Sales Analysis

Appraisers can tell you a lot about the communities in which they appraise. They innately understand the value of specific features to the homeowners of that area. Then, the appraiser researches recent sales in close proximity to the subject and finds properties which are 'comparable' to the subject in question. Using knowledge of the value of certain items such as square footage, extra bathrooms, hardwood floors, fireplaces or view lots (just to name a few), we add or subtract from each comparable's sales price so that they more accurately portray the features of subject.

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

After all differences have been accounted for, the appraiser reconciles the adjusted sales prices of all the comps and then derives an opinion of what the subject could sell for. When it comes to putting a value on features of homes in Cedartown and Polk, Gregory James Company, Inc. can't be beat. The sales comparison approach to value is commonly given the most importance when an appraisal is for a real estate exchange.

Valuation Using the Income Approach

A third method of valuing a property is sometimes applied when a neighborhood has a reasonable number of renter occupied properties. In this scenario, the amount of revenue the real estate generates is taken into consideration along with other rents in the area for comparable properties to derive the current value.

Coming Up With The Final Value

Combining information from all approaches, the appraiser is then ready to state an estimated market value for the property at hand. The estimate of value at the bottom of 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. Depending on the specific situations 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.Regardless, 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. Here's what it all boils down to, an appraiser from Gregory James Company, Inc. will guarantee you attain the most accurate property value, so you can make profitable real estate decisions.

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