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What Goes Into an Appraisal?

Their home's purchase can be the most significant investment many of us could ever make. Whether it's a primary residence, an additional vacation property or a rental fixer upper, the purchase of real property is an involved transaction that requires multiple people working in concert to see it through.

Most of the participants are very familiar. The real estate agent is the most known face in the exchange. Then, the mortgage company provides the financial capital needed to fund the transaction. The title company sees to it that all requirements of the exchange are completed and that a clear title passes from the seller to the purchaser.

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 is responsible for making sure the value of the property is in line 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 Gordon Appraisal Company, Inc. will ensure, you as an interested party, are informed.

The inspection is where an appraisal starts

Our first duty at Gordon Appraisal Company, Inc. is to inspect the property to determine its true status. We must see features first hand, 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 buyer would expect them to be. To make sure the stated square footage is accurate and illustrate the layout of the home, the inspection often requires creating a sketch of the floorplan. Most importantly, the appraiser identifies any obvious features - or defects - that would have an impact on the value of the property.

Next, after the inspection, 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 building costs, the cost of labor and other elements to determine how much it would cost to build a property comparable to the one being appraised. This figure often sets the upper limit on what a property would sell for. It's also the least used method.

Sales Comparison

Appraisers are intimately familiar with the communities in which they appraise. They thoroughly understand the value of specific features to the residents of that area. Then, the appraiser researches recent sales in close proximity to the subject and finds properties which are 'comparable' to the property 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.

  • Say, for example, the comparable property has a storm shelter and the subject doesn't, the appraiser may subtract the value of a storm shelter from the sales price of the comparable home.
  • If the subject has an extra half-bathroom and the comparable does not, the appraiser might add an amount to the comparable property.

A valid estimate of what the subject could sell for can only be determined once all differences between the comps and the subject have been evaluated. When it comes to putting a value on features of homes in Lincoln and Providence, Gordon Appraisal Company, Inc. is second to none. The sales comparison approach to value is usually awarded the most importance 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 situation, the amount of revenue the real estate generates is taken into consideration along with income produced by comparable properties to derive the current value.

Arriving at a Value Conclusion

Examining the data from all applicable approaches, the appraiser is then ready to document an estimated market value for the property at hand. The estimate of value on the appraisal report is not necessarily the final sales price even though it is likely the best indication of what a property is worth. Prices can always be driven up or down by extenuating circumstances like the motivation or urgency of a seller or 'bidding wars'. But the appraised value is often used 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 Gordon Appraisal Company, Inc. will guarantee you discover the most fair and balanced property value, so you can make the most informed real estate decisions.