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Understanding the Appraisal Process

Their home's purchase is the most significant investment some of us might ever consider. It doesn't matter if where you raise your family, an additional vacation home or one of many rentals, the purchase of real property is a complex financial transaction that requires multiple people working in concert to see it through.

Most people are familiar with the parties having a role in the transaction. The real estate agent is the most known person in the transaction. Then, the bank provides the financial capital needed to finance the deal. And ensuring all details of the exchange are completed and that the title is clear to pass from the seller to the purchaser 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 value of the property is consistent with the purchase price? This is where you meet 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 Real Property Metrics will ensure, you as an interested party, are informed.

The inspection is where an appraisal begins

Our first responsibility at Real Property Metrics is to inspect the property to ascertain its true status. We must actually see aspects of the property, such as the number of bedrooms and bathrooms, the location, amenities, etc., to ensure they really are there and are in the shape a reasonable buyer would expect them to be. To make sure the stated square footage has not been misrepresented and describe the layout of the property, the inspection often requires creating a sketch of the floorplan. Most importantly, we look for any obvious amenities - or defects - that would have an impact on the value of the house.

Following the inspection, we use 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 gather information on local building costs, the cost of labor and other elements to derive how much it would cost to construct a property comparable to the one being appraised. This estimate often sets the maximum on what a property would sell for. The cost approach is also the least used predictor of value.

Analyzing Comparable Sales

Appraisers become very familiar with the communities in which they appraise. They innately understand the value of specific features to the homeowners of that area. Then, the appraiser researches recent transactions in the area and finds properties which are 'comparable' to the real estate at hand. By assigning a dollar value to certain items such as remodeled rooms, types of flooring, energy efficient items, patios and porches, or additional storage space, we add or subtract from each comparable's sales price so that they more accurately match the features of subject property.

  • For example, if the comparable has a fireplace and the subject does not, the appraiser may deduct the value of a fireplace from the sales price of the comparable.
  • However, if the subject property 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. At Real Property Metrics, we are an authority in knowing the worth of real estate features in Lake Worth and Palm Beach County neighborhoods. This approach to value is typically awarded the most weight when an appraisal is for a home exchange.

Valuation Using the Income Approach

In the case of income producing properties - rental houses for example - we may use an additional approach to value. In this case, the amount of income the property yields is taken into consideration along with income produced by similar properties to derive the current value.

Coming Up With The Final Value

Examining the data from all approaches, the appraiser is then ready to stipulate an estimated market value for the property in question. It is important to note that while the appraised value is probably the best indication of what a property 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 put the property on the market again. At the end of the day, an appraiser from Real Property Metrics will help you discover the most fair and balanced property value, so you can make profitable real estate decisions.