What Is an Appraisal?
Their home's purchase can be the most significant transaction most of us might ever encounter. It doesn't matter if a primary residence, an additional vacation home or one of many rentals, the purchase of real property is an involved financial transaction that requires multiple people working in concert to see it through.
Practically all the people involved are very familiar. The real estate agent is the most familiar person in the transaction. Then, the mortgage company provides the money needed to bankroll the deal. And ensuring all details of the sale are completed and that the title is clear to pass from the seller to the purchaser is the title company.
So, what party is responsible for making sure the value of the property is consistent with the amount being paid? This is where the appraiser comes in. 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 Compass Appraisals will ensure, you as an interested party, are informed.
The inspection is where an appraisal begins
To ascertain the true status of the property, it's our responsibility to first complete a thorough inspection. We must see features hands on, such as the number of bedrooms and bathrooms, the location, amenities, etc., to ensure they indeed are there and are in the shape a typical person would expect them to be. To make sure the stated size of the property is accurate and convey 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 property.
Next, after the inspection, we use 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.
Here, we gather information on local building costs, the cost of labor and other elements to calculate how much it would cost to build a property nearly identical to the one being appraised. This estimate usually sets the upper limit on what a property would sell for. The cost approach is also the least used predictor of value.
Analyzing Comparable Sales
Appraisers are intimately familiar with the subdivisions in which they appraise. They thoroughly understand the value of certain features to the residents of that area. Then, the appraiser researches recent transactions in the vicinity and finds properties which are 'comparable' to the property being appraised. Using knowledge of the value of certain items such as upgraded appliances, extra bathrooms, additional living area, quality of construction, lot size, we add or subtract from each comparable's sales price so that they are more accurately in line with the features of subject property.
A valid estimate 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 knowing the true worth of features of homes in Chico and Butte, Compass Appraisals is your local authority. The sales comparison approach to value is usually given the most consideration when an appraisal is for a home sale.
Valuation Using the Income Approach
A third method of valuing a property is sometimes applied when a neighborhood has a measurable number of renter occupied properties. In this situation, the amount of income the real estate generates is taken into consideration along with other rents in the area for comparable properties to give an indicator of the current value.
Putting It All Together
Combining information from all approaches, the appraiser is then ready to stipulate an estimated market value for the subject property. The estimate of value at the bottom of the appraisal report is not necessarily what's being paid for the property even though it is likely the best indication of what a property is worth. There are always mitigating factors such as the seller's desire to get out of the property, urgency or 'bidding wars' that may adjust an offer or listing price 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 case they had to put the property on the market again. Here's what it all boils down to, an appraiser from Compass Appraisals will help you get the most accurate property value, so you can make the most informed real estate decisions.