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What Are the Parts of an Appraisal?

Purchasing a house is the most important investment most of us will ever make. Whether it's a main residence, an additional vacation property or one of many rentals, purchasing real property is an involved financial transaction that requires multiple people working in concert to see it through.

It's likely you are familiar with the parties having a role in the transaction. The most known person in the exchange is the real estate agent. Then, the lender provides the financial capital necessary to bankroll the exchange. The title company sees to it that all aspects 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 makes sure the property is worth the amount being paid? In comes 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 Barnstable/Plymouth Appraisal Services will ensure, you as an interested party, are informed.

Appraisals start with the property inspection

To determine an accurate status of the property, it's our duty to first perform a thorough inspection. We must see aspects of the property hands on, such as the number of bedrooms and bathrooms, the location, living areas, etc, to ensure they really are present and are in the shape a reasonable buyer would expect them to be. The inspection often includes a sketch of the house, ensuring the square footage is proper and conveying the layout of the property. Most importantly, the appraiser identifies any obvious features - or defects - that would affect the value of the property.

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

Replacement Cost

Here, the appraiser analyzes information on local building costs, labor rates and other factors to derive how much it would cost to build a property comparable to the one being appraised. This value commonly sets the maximum on what a property would sell for. The cost approach is also the least used method.

Sales Comparison

Appraisers get to know the subdivisions in which they appraise. They innately understand the value of certain features to the residents of that area. Then, the appraiser researches recent transactions in the neighborhood and finds properties which are 'comparable' to the property in question. 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 portray the features of subject property.

  • For example, if the comparable property has an irrigation system and the subject doesn't, the appraiser may subtract the value of an irrigation system from the sales price of the comparable home.
  • But, 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.

Once all necessary adjustments have been made, the appraiser reconciles the adjusted sales prices of all the comps and then derives an opinion of what the subject could sell for. When it comes to associating a value with features of homes in Buzzards Bay and Barnstable, Barnstable/Plymouth Appraisal Services can't be beat. This approach to value is most often given the most importance when an appraisal is for a home sale.

Valuation Using the Income Approach

In the case of income producing properties - rental houses for example - the appraiser may use an additional approach to value. In this case, the amount of income the property yields is factored in with income produced by comparable properties to determine the current value.

Arriving at a Value Conclusion

Combining information from all applicable approaches, the appraiser is then ready to document an estimated market value for the subject property. It is important to note that while this amount is probably the most accurate indication of what a house is worth, it may not be the price at which the property closes. 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 often used as a guideline for lenders who don't want to loan a buyer more money than they could get back in the event they had to sell the property again. It all comes down to this, an appraiser from Barnstable/Plymouth Appraisal Services will guarantee you discover the most accurate property value, so you can make the most informed real estate decisions.