What Is an Appraisal?

Getting a home is the most significant investment many might ever encounter. It doesn't matter if a primary residence, an additional vacation home or an investment, the purchase of real property is an involved transaction that requires multiple parties to make it all happen.

You're likely to be familiar with the parties taking part in the transaction. The most familiar face in the exchange is the real estate agent. Then, the mortgage company provides the financial capital necessary to bankroll the exchange. And ensuring all areas of the transaction are completed and that the title is clear to transfer to the buyer from the seller is the title company.

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 estimate of what a buyer might 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.

The inspection is where an appraisal begins

To ascertain an accurate status of the property, it's our duty to first complete a thorough inspection. We must actually view features, such as the number of bedrooms and bathrooms, the location, living areas, etc, to ensure they indeed are there and are in the condition a reasonable buyer would expect them to be. The inspection often includes a sketch of the floorplan, ensuring the square footage is accurate and illustrating 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.

Once the site has been inspected, an appraiser uses two or three approaches to determining the value of real property: a paired sales analysis, a replacement cost calculation, and an income approach when rental properties are prevalent.

Replacement Cost

This is where we pull information on local construction costs, labor rates and other factors to ascertain how much it would cost to replace the property being appraised. This value commonly sets the maximum on what a property would sell for. It's also the least used predictor of value.

Analyzing Comparable Sales

Appraisers can tell you a lot about the neighborhoods in which they appraise. They innately understand the value of specific features to the residents of that area. Then, the appraiser researches recent sales in the area and finds properties which are 'comparable' to the subject in question. Using knowledge of the value of certain items such as fireplaces, room layout, appliance upgrades, extra bathrooms or bedrooms, or quality of construction, we adjust the comparable properties so that they are more accurately in line with the features of subject property.

  • If, for example, the comparable has an irrigation system and the subject does not, the appraiser may deduct the value of an irrigation system from the sales price of the comparable home.
  • If the subject has an extra half-bathroom and the comparable does not, the appraiser might add an 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. When it comes to valuing features of homes in Snellville and Gwinnett, Perpetual Valuations Group can't be beat. The sales comparison approach to value is typically given the most weight when an appraisal is for a real estate sale.

Valuation Using the Income Approach

A third way of valuing a house is sometimes applied when a neighborhood has a measurable number of rental properties. In this case, the amount of revenue the real estate yields is factored in with other rents in the area for comparable properties to determine the current value.

The Bottom Line

Combining information from all applicable approaches, the appraiser is then ready to stipulate an estimated market value for the property in question. The estimate of value at the bottom of the appraisal report is not always the final sales price 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 the property is actually worth. The bottom line is, an appraiser from Perpetual Valuations Group will guarantee you get the most fair and balanced property value, so you can make wise real estate decisions.