A Description of the Appraisal Process

Purchasing real estate is the most significant investment some people will ever encounter. It doesn't matter if where you raise your family, an additional vacation property or an investment, purchasing real property is a detailed transaction that requires multiple parties to see it through.

Most of the participants are quite familiar. The most recognizable entity in the transaction is the real estate agent. Then, the mortgage company provides the financial capital necessary to fund the exchange. The title company makes sure that all aspects of the sale are completed and that a clear title transfers from the seller to the buyer.

To learn more about appraising, click here to see a short video or call us today to talk about your specific property.

So, who's responsible for making 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 Gregory James Company, Inc. will ensure, you as an interested party, are informed.

Appraisals begin with the inspection

To determine the true status of the property, it's our responsibility to first complete a thorough inspection. We must physically see features, such as the number of bedrooms and bathrooms, the location, amenities, etc., to ensure they really exist and are in the shape a reasonable person 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 includes creating a sketch of the floorplan. Most importantly, the appraiser identifies any obvious features - or defects - that would affect the value of the house.

After the inspection, an appraiser uses two or three approaches to determining the value of real property: sales comparison and, in the case of a rental property, an income approach.

Cost Approach

Here, we analyze information on local building costs, labor rates and other factors to derive how much it would cost to construct a property nearly identical to the one being appraised. This value commonly sets the upper limit on what a property would sell for. The cost approach is also the least used method.

Paired Sales Analysis

Appraisers become very familiar with the communities in which they work. They innately understand the value of certain features to the homeowners of that area. Then, the appraiser looks up recent transactions in the neighborhood 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 adjust the comparable properties so that they more accurately match the features of subject property.

  • For example, if the comparable has a fireplace and the subject does not, the appraiser may subtract the value of a fireplace from the sales price of the comparable home.
  • 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 valid estimate of what the subject could 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 real estate features in Atlanta and Polk County neighborhoods. This approach to value is commonly given the most importance when an appraisal is for a home exchange.

Valuation Using the Income Approach

In the case of income producing properties - rental houses for example - we may use an additional approach to value. In this case, the amount of income the real estate produces is factored in with other rents in the area for comparable properties to determine the current value.

Putting It All Together

Combining information 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 most reliable indication of what a house is worth, it may 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 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 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 accurate property value, so you can make profitable real estate decisions.

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