What Are the Parts of an Appraisal?

Getting a house is the biggest transaction most people will ever make. Whether it's where you raise your family, a second vacation property or an investment, purchasing 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 familiar person in the exchange. Then, the lender provides the money needed to bankroll the transaction. And ensuring all areas of the transaction are completed and that a clear title passes to the buyer from the seller is the title company.

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So, what party is responsible for making sure the property is worth the amount being paid? 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 Crescent Appraisal Group, Inc. will ensure, you as an interested party, are informed.

Appraisals begin with the property inspection

Our first duty at Crescent Appraisal Group, Inc. is to inspect the property to determine its true status. We must physically see aspects of the property, such as the number of bedrooms and bathrooms, the location, and so on, to ensure they indeed are there and are in the condition a reasonable person would expect them to be. The inspection often includes a sketch of the property, ensuring the square footage is proper and illustrating the layout of the property. Most importantly, the appraiser looks for any obvious amenities - or defects - that would have an impact on the value of the house.

Following the inspection, an appraiser uses two or three approaches to determining the value of real property: paired sales analysis and, in the case of a rental property, an income approach.

Replacement Cost

This is where the appraiser uses information on local construction costs, labor rates and other factors to derive how much it would cost to replace the property being appraised. This figure 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 get to know the neighborhoods in which they work. They thoroughly understand the value of particular features to the people of that area. Then, the appraiser looks up recent sales in the area and finds properties which are 'comparable' to the real estate being appraised. 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 are more accurately in line with the features of subject property.

  • Say, for example, the comparable has a storm shelter and the subject doesn't, the appraiser may deduct the value of a storm shelter 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.

After all differences have been accounted for, 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 Metairie and Jefferson, Crescent Appraisal Group, Inc. is second to none. This approach to value is typically given the most consideration 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 scenario, the amount of income the property produces is factored in with income produced by nearby properties to derive the current value.

Putting It All Together

Combining information from all applicable approaches, the appraiser is then ready to put down an estimated market value for the property at hand. It is important to note that while the appraised value is probably the most reliable indication of what a house is worth, it probably will not be the final sales price. Depending on the individual circumstances of the buyer or seller, their level of urgency or a buyer's desire for that exact property, the closing price of a home can always be driven 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 the property is actually worth. At the end of the day, an appraiser from Crescent Appraisal Group, Inc. will help you attain the most fair and balanced property value, so you can make the most informed real estate decisions.