What Is an Appraisal?

Buying a house can be the biggest financial decision most could ever make. It doesn't matter if a primary residence, a second vacation property or one of many rentals, the purchase of real property is an involved transaction that requires multiple parties to see it through.

Most people are familiar with the parties having a role in the transaction. The most familiar entity in the exchange is the real estate agent. Then, the lender provides the financial capital required to fund the deal. And ensuring all details of the sale 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 is responsible for making sure the property is worth the purchase price? This is where the appraiser comes in. We provide an unbiased opinion 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 Baker Appraisal Services, Inc. will ensure, you as an interested party, are informed.

Inspecting the subject property

Our first responsibility at Baker Appraisal Services, Inc. is to inspect the property to determine its true status. We must see aspects of the property hands on, 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 reasonable person would expect them to be. To ensure the stated size of the property has not been misrepresented and illustrate the layout of the property, the inspection often includes creating a sketch of the floorplan. Most importantly, we identify any obvious features - or defects - that would affect the value of the property.

Back at the office, 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.

Replacement Cost

This is where the appraiser uses information on local construction costs, labor rates and other elements to calculate how much it would cost to construct a property similar to the one being appraised. This value often sets the upper limit on what a property would sell for. It's also the least used predictor of value.

Analyzing Comparable Sales

Appraisers can tell you a lot about the communities in which they appraise. They innately understand the value of certain features to the residents of that area. Then, the appraiser researches recent sales in the neighborhood and finds properties which are 'comparable' to the home in question. Using knowledge of the value of certain items such as upgraded appliances, extra bathrooms, additional living area, quality of construction, lot size, we adjust the comparable properties so that they are more accurately in line with the features of subject.

  • If, for example, the comparable property has a fireplace and the subject doesn't, the appraiser may subtract the value of a fireplace 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.

A true estimate of what the subject might sell for can only be determined once all differences between the comps and the subject have been evaluated. When it comes to associating a value with features of homes in Camden and Kent, Baker Appraisal Services, Inc. is second to none. The sales comparison approach to value is typically given the most consideration when an appraisal is for a home sale.

Valuation Using the Income Approach

A third way of valuing a property is sometimes applied when a neighborhood has a reasonable number of rental properties. In this situation, the amount of revenue the property yields is factored in with income produced by neighboring properties to derive the current value.

Reconciliation

Combining information from all applicable approaches, the appraiser is then ready to document an estimated market value for the property in question. 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. 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 used as a guideline for lenders who don't want to loan a buyer more money than the property is actually worth. It all comes down to this, an appraiser from Baker Appraisal Services, Inc. will guarantee you discover the most accurate property value, so you can make profitable real estate decisions.