What Is an Appraisal?

A home purchase is the most serious investment most people may ever encounter. It doesn't matter if a main residence, a second vacation property or one of many rentals, purchasing real property is a detailed transaction that requires multiple people working in concert to see it through.

Most people are familiar with the parties having a role in the transaction. The real estate agent is the most familiar person in the exchange. Next, the lender provides the financial capital needed to fund the exchange. And the title company makes sure that all requirements of the exchange are completed and that the title is clear to pass 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's responsible for making sure the real estate is worth the amount being paid? This is where the appraiser comes in. We provide an unbiased estimate of what a buyer could 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 Race Appraisal Services, LLC will ensure, you as an interested party, are informed.

The inspection is where an appraisal starts

Our first task at Race Appraisal Services, LLC is to inspect the property to determine its true status. We must see features hands on, such as the number of bedrooms and bathrooms, the location, and so on, to ensure they truly exist and are in the condition a typical buyer would expect them to be. The inspection often includes a sketch of the property, ensuring the square footage is proper and illustrating the layout of the property. Most importantly, we look for any obvious features - or defects - that would have an impact on the value of the property.

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.

Replacement Cost

This is where the appraiser pulls information on local building costs, labor rates and other factors to derive how much it would cost to replace the property being appraised. This value commonly sets the maximum on what a property would sell for. The cost approach is also the least used predictor of value.

Sales Comparison

Appraisers are intimately familiar with the communities in which they work. They thoroughly understand the value of particular features to the homeowners of that area. Then, the appraiser looks up recent sales in close proximity to the subject and finds properties which are 'comparable' to the subject being appraised. By assigning a dollar value to certain items such as fireplaces, room layout, appliance upgrades, additional 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.

  • For example, if the comparable has an extra half bath that the subject doesn't, the appraiser may deduct the value of that half bath from the sales price of the comparable home.
  • If the subject property has an extra half-bathroom and the comparable does not, the appraiser might add an amount 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 putting a value on features of homes in East Longmeadow and Hampden, Race Appraisal Services, LLC is second to none. The sales comparison approach to value is commonly given the most consideration when an appraisal is for a home purchase.

Valuation Using the Income Approach

In the case of income producing properties - rental houses for example - we may use an additional approach to value. In this case, the amount of revenue the property produces is taken into consideration along with income produced by nearby properties to determine the current value.

Coming Up With The Final Value

Combining information 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 always what's being paid for the property even though it is likely the best indication of what a property is worth. It's not uncommon for prices to 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. At the end of the day, an appraiser from Race Appraisal Services, LLC will help you attain the most accurate property value, so you can make profitable real estate decisions.

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