Buying a home is the most important financial decision some of us might ever encounter. Whether it's a primary residence, an additional vacation property or an investment, purchasing real property is a complex financial transaction that requires multiple people working in concert to make it all happen.
Most people are familiar with the parties taking part in the transaction. The most familiar face in the exchange is the real estate agent. Then, the mortgage company provides the financial capital needed to finance the transaction. And ensuring all areas of the transaction are completed and that the title is clear to pass to the buyer from the seller is the title company.
So, what party makes sure the value of the real estate is consistent with the purchase price? This is where you meet the appraiser. We provide an unbiased opinion of what a buyer could expect to pay — or a seller receive — for a property, where both buyer and seller are informed parties. A licensed, certified, professional appraiser from Academy Appraisal, Inc. will ensure, you as an interested party, are informed.
Appraisals begin with the home inspection
Our first responsibility at Academy Appraisal, 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, amenities, etc., to ensure they really are there and are in the shape a reasonable person would expect them to be. To make sure the stated square footage has not been misrepresented and describe the layout of the property, the inspection often entails creating a sketch of the floorplan. Most importantly, we identify any obvious features - or defects - that would affect the value of the house.
Following the inspection, we use two or three approaches to determining the value of real property: sales comparison and, in the case of a rental property, an income approach.
Here, the appraiser analyzes information on local building costs, labor rates and other factors to figure out 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. The cost approach is also the least used method.
Analyzing Comparable Sales
Appraisers can tell you a lot about the neighborhoods in which they appraise. They innately understand the value of particular features to the residents of that area. Then, the appraiser looks up recent transactions in the area and finds properties which are 'comparable' to the real estate in question. By assigning a dollar value to certain items such as upgraded appliances, extra bathrooms, additional living area, quality of construction, lot size, we add or subtract from each comparable's sales price so that they more accurately portray the features of subject.
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. At Academy Appraisal, Inc., we are an authority in knowing the worth of particular items in Warminster and Bucks County neighborhoods. The sales comparison approach to value is usually awarded the most weight 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 a third way of valuing a house. In this situation, the amount of revenue the real estate produces is taken into consideration along with other rents in the area for comparable properties to give an indicator of the current value.
Coming Up With The Final Value
Combining information from all approaches, the appraiser is then ready to state an estimated market value for the property in question. The estimate of value at the bottom of the appraisal report is not necessarily the final sales price even though it is likely the best indication of a property's valueThere are always mitigating factors such as seller motivation, urgency or 'bidding wars' that may adjust the final price up or down. Regardless, the appraised value is typically used as a guideline for lenders who don't want to loan a buyer more money than they could recover in the event they had to sell the property again. It all comes down to this, an appraiser from Academy Appraisal, Inc. will help you get the most fair and balanced property value, so you can make the most informed real estate decisions.