Real Estate Appraisals: A Primer

Their home's purchase can be the most significant investment most could ever consider. Whether it's a main residence, a seasonal vacation home or a rental fixer upper, purchasing real property is an involved transaction that requires multiple people working in concert to pull it all off.

It's likely you are familiar with the parties having a role in the transaction. The most known entity in the exchange is the real estate agent. Next, the mortgage company provides the money needed to bankroll the exchange. And the title company sees to it that all details of the exchange are completed and that a clear title transfers from the seller to the purchaser.

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 real estate is worth the amount being paid? In comes the appraiser. We provide an unbiased estimate of what a buyer could expect to pay — or a seller receive — for a parcel of real estate, where both buyer and seller are informed parties. A licensed, certified, professional appraiser from Perpetual Valuations Group will ensure, you as an interested party, are informed.

Appraisals start with the home inspection

To determine an accurate 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, living areas, etc, to ensure they really are there and are in the condition a reasonable person would expect them to be. The inspection often includes a sketch of the floorplan, ensuring the square footage is accurate and conveying the layout of the property. Most importantly, the appraiser looks for any obvious features - or defects - that would have an impact on the value of the property.

Back at the office, an appraiser uses 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.

Replacement Cost

Here, the appraiser gathers information on local building costs, the cost of labor and other elements to determine how much it would cost to construct a property comparable to the one being appraised. This figure often sets the upper limit on what a property would sell for. It's also the least used method.

Sales Comparison

Appraisers get to know the neighborhoods in which they appraise. They thoroughly understand the value of particular 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 home at hand. By assigning a dollar value to certain items such as fireplaces, room layout, appliance upgrades, additional bathrooms or bedrooms, or quality of construction, we adjust the comparable properties so that they more accurately portray the features of subject property.

  • For example, if the comparable property has a fireplace and the subject doesn't, the appraiser may deduct the value of a fireplace from the sales price of the comparable home.
  • 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 could sell for can only be determined once all differences between the comps and the subject have been evaluated. At Perpetual Valuations Group, we are experts when it comes to knowing the value of particular items in Snellville and Gwinnett County neighborhoods. This approach to value is typically given the most importance 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 an additional method of valuing real estate. In this case, the amount of revenue the real estate yields is factored in with other rents in the area for comparable properties to derive the current value.

Arriving at a Value Conclusion

Examining the data from all applicable approaches, the appraiser is then ready to document an estimated market value for the property at hand. 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 often used 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 Perpetual Valuations Group will guarantee you discover the most fair and balanced property value, so you can make the most informed real estate decisions.