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Understanding the Appraisal Process

Buying a house is the largest investment many may ever consider. Whether it's where you raise your family, a second vacation property or an investment, the purchase of real property is a complex transaction that requires multiple parties to make it all happen.

You're likely to be familiar with the parties having a role in the transaction. The most recognizable face in the exchange is the real estate agent. Then, the lender provides the financial capital necessary to fund the transaction. And ensuring all areas of the exchange are completed and that a clear title transfers 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, 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 could expect to pay — or a seller receive — for a property, where both buyer and seller are informed parties. A licensed, certified, professional appraiser from Annette Sarantis (919) 791-5479 will ensure, you as an interested party, are informed.

Appraisals start with the home inspection

Our first task at Annette Sarantis (919) 791-5479 is to inspect the property to determine its true status. We must physically see features, such as the number of bedrooms and bathrooms, the location, and so on, to ensure they really are there and are in the condition a typical person would expect them to be. To ensure the stated size of the property is accurate and convey the layout of the home, the inspection often includes creating a sketch of the floorplan. Most importantly, the appraiser looks for any obvious amenities - or defects - that would have an impact on the value of the house.

Once the site has been inspected, an appraiser uses two or three approaches to determining the value of real property: a sales comparison, a replacement cost calculation, and an income approach when rental properties are prevalent.

Replacement Cost

Here, the appraiser pulls information on local building costs, the cost of labor 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 neighborhoods in which they appraise. They thoroughly understand the value of certain features to the homeowners of that area. Then, the appraiser looks up recent transactions in close proximity to the subject and finds properties which are 'comparable' to the real estate at hand. Using knowledge of the value of certain items such as fireplaces, room layout, appliance upgrades, additional bathrooms or bedrooms, or quality of construction, we adjust the comparable properties so that they are more accurately in line with the features of subject.

  • For example, if the comparable has a storm shelter and the subject does not, the appraiser may deduct the value of a storm shelter from the sales price of the comparable home.
  • However, if the subject has an extra half-bathroom and the comparable does not, the appraiser might add a certain amount to the comparable property.

In the end, 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 valuing features of homes in Raleigh and Wake, Annette Sarantis (919) 791-5479 can't be beat. The sales comparison approach to value is typically given 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 renter occupied properties. In this case, the amount of income the real estate generates is factored in with other rents in the area for comparable properties to derive the current value.

Putting It All Together

Combining information from all approaches, the appraiser is then ready to put down an estimated market value for the property at hand. 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 a property's valueThere 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. Regardless, the appraised value is typically employed as a guideline for lenders who don't want to loan a buyer more money than they could get back in case they had to sell the property again. At the end of the day, an appraiser from Annette Sarantis (919) 791-5479 will guarantee you discover the most fair and balanced property value, so you can make profitable real estate decisions.