Real Estate Appraisals: A Primer
A home purchase is the biggest transaction most people may ever encounter. It doesn't matter if where you raise your family, a seasonal vacation property or one of many rentals, the purchase of real property is a complex financial transaction that requires multiple parties to make it all happen.
The majority of the participants are quite familiar. The real estate agent is the most recognizable entity in the exchange. Then, the lender provides the money necessary to finance the exchange. The title company sees to it that all details of the exchange are completed and that the title is clear to pass to the buyer from the seller.
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 parcel of real estate, where both buyer and seller are informed parties. A licensed, certified, professional appraiser from Cathy Bauer Appraisals, LLC will ensure, you as an interested party, are informed.
The inspection is where an appraisal begins
To determine the true status of the property, it's our duty to first perform a thorough inspection. 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 truly are present and are in the shape a typical person would expect them to be. The inspection often includes a sketch of the property, ensuring the square footage is correct and illustrating the layout of the property. Most importantly, we look for any obvious features - or defects - that would affect the value of the property.
Next, after the inspection, 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.
Here, we pull information on local construction costs, the cost of labor and other elements to ascertain how much it would cost to construct a property comparable to the one being appraised. This value often sets the maximum on what a property would sell for. It's also the least used predictor of value.
Appraisers are intimately familiar with the neighborhoods in which they appraise. They thoroughly understand the value of specific features to the residents of that area. Then, the appraiser looks up recent sales in close proximity to the subject and finds properties which are 'comparable' to the real estate being appraised. By assigning a dollar value to certain items such as square footage, extra bathrooms, hardwood floors, fireplaces or view lots (just to name a few), we add or subtract from each comparable's sales price so that they are more accurately in line with the features of subject.
An opinion of what the subject might sell for can only be determined once all differences between the comps and the subject have been evaluated. At Cathy Bauer Appraisals, LLC, we are an authority when it comes to knowing the worth of particular items in Newmarket and Rockingham County neighborhoods. This approach to value is most often given the most consideration when an appraisal is for a real estate 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 real estate generates is factored in with income produced by neighboring properties to derive the current value.
Combining information from all approaches, the appraiser is then ready to state an estimated market value for the subject property. Note: While the appraised value is probably the most accurate indication of what a property is worth, it probably will not be the price at which the property closes. 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 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 Cathy Bauer Appraisals, LLC will help you get the most accurate property value, so you can make the most informed real estate decisions.