Understanding Appraisals

Acquiring a house can be the most serious transaction some could ever make. It doesn't matter if where you raise your family, an additional vacation home or an investment, purchasing real property is a complex financial transaction that requires multiple parties to see it through.

The majority of the people involved are quite familiar. The most familiar entity in the exchange is the real estate agent. Next, the mortgage company provides the money needed to fund the exchange. And the title company sees to it that all areas 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, who makes sure the value of the real estate is in line with the purchase price? This is where you meet the appraiser. We provide an unbiased opinion 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.

Inspecting the subject property

Our first task at Gregory James Company, Inc. is to inspect the property to determine its true status. We must see features hands on, such as the number of bedrooms and bathrooms, the location, and so on, to ensure they truly exist and are in the condition a typical person would expect them to be. To make sure the stated square footage has not been misrepresented and illustrate the layout of the home, the inspection often requires creating a sketch of the floorplan. Most importantly, the appraiser identifies any obvious features - or defects - that would affect the value of the house.

Following the inspection, an appraiser uses 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.

Cost Approach

This is where we analyze information on local construction costs, labor rates and other elements to figure out how much it would cost to replace the property being appraised. This estimate usually sets the maximum on what a property would sell for. The cost approach is also the least used predictor of value.

Sales Comparison

Appraisers get to know the subdivisions in which they work. They thoroughly understand the value of particular features to the people of that area. Then, the appraiser looks up recent transactions in the neighborhood and finds properties which are 'comparable' to the property being appraised. Using knowledge of the value of certain items such as fireplaces, room layout, appliance upgrades, extra bathrooms or bedrooms, or quality of construction, we add or subtract from each comparable's sales price so that they more accurately match the features of subject property.

  • For example, if the comparable property has a fireplace and the subject does not, the appraiser may deduct the value of a fireplace from the sales price of the comparable home.
  • However, 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.

A true estimate 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 valuing features of homes in Cedartown and Polk, Gregory James Company, Inc. can't be beat. This approach to value is usually awarded the most importance when an appraisal is for a real estate exchange.

Valuation Using the Income Approach

In the case of income producing properties - rental houses for example - the appraiser may use a third approach to value. In this scenario, the amount of income the real estate produces is taken into consideration along with income produced by similar properties to derive the current value.

The Bottom Line

Combining information from all approaches, the appraiser is then ready to put down an estimated market value for the subject property. 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. It's not uncommon for prices to be driven up or down by extenuating circumstances like the motivation or urgency of a seller or 'bidding wars'. But the appraised value is typically employed as a guideline for lenders who don't want to loan a buyer more money than they could recover in case they had to put the property on the market again. At the end of the day, an appraiser from Gregory James Company, Inc. will guarantee you get the most fair and balanced property value, so you can make the most informed real estate decisions.

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