What Is an Appraisal?

Getting real estate can be the biggest transaction most might ever make. It doesn't matter if a main residence, a seasonal vacation home or a rental fixer upper, the purchase of real property is a detailed transaction that requires multiple parties to pull it all off.

It's likely you are familiar with the parties having a role in the transaction. The most familiar face in the exchange is the real estate agent. Next, the bank provides the money necessary to finance the exchange. The title company makes sure that all areas of the transaction are completed and that a clear title transfers to the buyer from the seller.

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 real estate is worth 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 licensed, certified, professional appraiser from RJE Real Estate Appraisal Service will ensure, you as an interested party, are informed.

The inspection is where an appraisal begins

To determine an accurate status of the property, it's our duty to first conduct a thorough inspection. We must see aspects of the property hands on, such as the number of bedrooms and bathrooms, the location, amenities, etc., to ensure they really are there and are in the shape a typical person would expect them to be. The inspection often includes a sketch of the floorplan, ensuring the square footage is correct and conveying the layout of the property. Most importantly, the appraiser looks for any obvious features - or defects - that would affect the value of the house.

Next, after the inspection, we use two or three approaches to determining the value of the property: paired sales analysis and, in the case of a rental property, an income approach.

Cost Approach

Here, the appraiser pulls information on local construction costs, labor rates and other elements to ascertain how much it would cost to replace the property being appraised. This estimate often sets the upper limit on what a property would sell for. It's also the least used predictor of value.

Sales Comparison

Appraisers can tell you a lot about the subdivisions in which they work. They innately understand the value of specific features to the homeowners of that area. Then, the appraiser looks up recent transactions in the vicinity and finds properties which are 'comparable' to the property in question. By assigning a dollar value to 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 more accurately portray the features of subject property.

  • If, for example, the comparable property has a fireplace and the subject doesn't, the appraiser may deduct the value of a fireplace from the sales price of the comparable home.
  • In the case where the subject has something such as an extra half bath that a comparable doesn't have, the appraiser might add the value of that bath 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 associating a value with features of homes in Saline and Washtenaw, RJE Real Estate Appraisal Service can't be beat. The sales comparison approach to value is most often 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 - we may use a third approach to value. In this scenario, the amount of income the property generates is factored in with other rents in the area for comparable properties to derive the current value.

The Bottom Line

Combining information from all approaches, the appraiser is then ready to stipulate an estimated market value for the subject property. It is important to note that while the appraised value is probably the strongest indication of what a house is worth, it may not be the final sales price. Depending on the individual situations 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.Regardless, the appraised value is often employed as a guideline for lenders who don't want to loan a buyer more money than the property is actually worth. Here's what it all boils down to, an appraiser from RJE Real Estate Appraisal Service will guarantee you get the most accurate property value, so you can make profitable real estate decisions.