An Overview of the Appraisal ProcessPurchasing real estate is the most significant transaction most people could ever make. Whether it's where you raise your family, an additional vacation property or an investment, purchasing real property is a complex financial transaction that requires multiple people working in concert to see it through.
The majority of the participants are quite familiar. The real estate agent is the most recognizable person in the transaction. Then, the lender provides the money needed to finance the transaction. Ensuring all aspects of the exchange are completed and that a clear title passes to the buyer from the seller is the title company.
So what party makes sure the value of the property is consistent with the amount being paid? In comes the appraiser. We provide an unbiased estimate of what a buyer might expect to pay - or a seller receive - for a property, where both buyer and seller are informed parties. A professional Pennsylvania licensed appraiser from Discovery One, Inc. will ensure you as an interested party are informed.
Inspecting the subject propertyOur first duty at Discovery One, Inc. is to inspect the property to determine its true status. We must see aspects of the property first hand, 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 typical person would expect them to be. The inspection often includes a sketch of the property, ensuring the square footage is correct and conveying the layout of the property. Most importantly, we identify any obvious amenities - or defects - that would affect the value of the house.
Back at the office, an appraiser employs two or three approaches when determining the value of real property: a sales comparison, a replacement cost calculation, and an income approach when rental properties are prevalent.
Replacement CostHere, the appraiser analyzes information on local building costs, labor rates and other elements to calculate how much it would cost to construct a property nearly identical to the one being appraised. This figure usually sets the upper limit on what a property would sell for. It's also the least used predictor of value.
Paired Sales AnalysisAppraisers are intimately familiar with the communities in which they appraise. We innately understand the value of certain features to the homeowners of that area. Then, the appraiser researches recent transactions in the neighborhood and finds properties which are 'comparable' to the property being appraised. By assigning a dollar value to certain items such as fireplaces, room layout, appliance upgrades, extra bathrooms or bedrooms, or quality of construction, we add or subtract from each comparable's sales price so that they more accurately match the features of subject property.
Valuation Using the Income ApproachA third way of valuing approach to value is sometimes applied when an area has a reasonable number of renter occupied properties. In this scenario, the amount of income the property generates is factored in with income produced by similar properties to derive the current value.
Putting It All TogetherExamining the data from all approaches, the appraiser is then ready to put down 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 could sell for in an open market. Prices can always 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 the property would likely sell for in an open marketplace. Here's what it all boils down to: An appraiser from Discovery One, Inc. will help you get the most accurate property value, so you can make wise real estate decisions.