What Goes Into an Appraisal?

Getting a house can be the most significant investment many might ever consider. It doesn't matter if where you raise your family, an additional vacation property or a rental fixer upper, the purchase of real property is a complex transaction that requires multiple parties to pull it all off.

Most of the people involved are very familiar. The most familiar entity in the exchange is the real estate agent. Next, the mortgage company provides the financial capital necessary to finance the exchange. The title company sees to it that all aspects of the transaction 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 value of the real estate is in line with the purchase price? This is where the appraiser comes in. 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.

Appraisals begin with the inspection

Our first responsibility at Gregory James Company, Inc. is to inspect the property to determine its true status. We must actually view features, such as the number of bedrooms and bathrooms, the location, amenities, etc., to ensure they truly exist and are in the condition a typical person would expect them to be. To make sure the stated size of the property is accurate and illustrate the layout of the house, the inspection often includes creating a sketch of the floorplan. Most importantly, the appraiser looks for any obvious amenities - or defects - that would have an impact on the value of the house.

Following the inspection, an appraiser uses two or three approaches to determining the value of real property: a sales comparison, a replacement cost calculation, and an income approach when rental properties are prevalent.

Replacement Cost

This is where the appraiser analyzes information on local construction costs, the cost of labor and other factors to determine how much it would cost to construct a property nearly identical to the one being appraised. This figure commonly sets the upper limit on what a property would sell for. The cost approach is also the least used method.

Sales Comparison

Appraisers become very familiar with the subdivisions in which they appraise. 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 subject 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 add or subtract from each comparable's sales price so that they more accurately match the features of subject property.

  • Say, for example, the comparable property 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 a certain 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. At Gregory James Company, Inc., we are an authority when it comes to knowing the worth of particular items in Atlanta and Polk County neighborhoods. This approach to value is typically given the most consideration when an appraisal is for a real estate purchase.

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 case, the amount of income the real estate generates is factored in with income produced by neighboring properties to determine the current value.

The Bottom Line

Examining the data from all approaches, the appraiser is then ready to put down an estimated market value for the property in question. Note: While the appraised value is probably the strongest indication of what a property is worth, it may not be the final sales price. 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 employed as a guideline for lenders who don't want to loan a buyer more money than they could recover in the event they had to sell the property again. It all comes down to this, an appraiser from Gregory James Company, Inc. will help you attain the most fair and balanced property value, so you can make wise real estate decisions.

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