What Are the Parts of an Appraisal?

A home purchase can be the most significant investment most of us could ever encounter. Whether it's a main residence, a second vacation home or one of many rentals, the purchase of real property is a detailed financial transaction that requires multiple people working in concert to make it all happen.

You're probably familiar with the parties taking part in the transaction. The real estate agent is the most known face in the exchange. Then, the mortgage company provides the financial capital required to bankroll the transaction. And ensuring all areas of the sale are completed and that the title is clear to pass 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 makes sure the real estate is worth the purchase price? 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 AAL APPRAISALS, LLC will ensure, you as an interested party, are informed.

Appraisals start with the inspection

Our first task at AAL APPRAISALS, LLC is to inspect the property to ascertain its true status. We must physically view features, such as the number of bedrooms and bathrooms, the location, amenities, etc., to ensure they really exist and are in the shape a typical buyer would expect them to be. To make sure the stated size of the property is accurate and illustrate the layout of the property, the inspection often requires creating a sketch of the floorplan. Most importantly, we identify any obvious amenities - or defects - that would have an impact on the value of the house.

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

Cost Approach

This is where the appraiser uses information on local construction costs, labor rates and other elements to derive how much it would cost to replace the property being appraised. This estimate often sets the upper limit on what a property would sell for. The cost approach is also the least used method.

Sales Comparison

Appraisers can tell you a lot about the communities in which they work. They innately understand the value of particular features to the people of that area. Then, the appraiser researches recent sales in close proximity to the subject and finds properties which are 'comparable' to the real estate being appraised. Using knowledge of the value of certain items such as square footage, extra 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.

  • Say, for example, the comparable has an irrigation system and the subject does not, the appraiser may subtract the value of an irrigation system from the sales price of the comparable.
  • If the subject has an extra half-bathroom and the comparable does not, the appraiser might add an amount to the comparable property.

A true 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 AAL APPRAISALS, LLC, we are an authority in knowing the value of particular items in Springfield and Fairfax County neighborhoods. This approach to value is typically awarded the most consideration when an appraisal is for a home purchase.

Valuation Using the Income Approach

A third method of valuing a house is sometimes applied when a neighborhood has a reasonable number of rental properties. In this scenario, the amount of income the real estate generates is taken into consideration along with income produced by comparable properties to determine the current value.

The Bottom Line

Combining information from all approaches, the appraiser is then ready to document an estimated market value for the property in question. Note: While this amount is probably the most reliable 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'. Regardless, the appraised value is typically used as a guideline for lenders who don't want to loan a buyer more money than they could recover in case they had to sell the property again. It all comes down to this, an appraiser from AAL APPRAISALS, LLC will guarantee you attain the most fair and balanced property value, so you can make the most informed real estate decisions.