What Are the Components of an Appraisal?

Purchasing real estate can be the largest transaction most people might ever encounter. It doesn't matter if where you raise your family, an additional vacation property or an investment, purchasing real property is a detailed financial transaction that requires multiple people working in concert to make it all happen.

It's likely you are familiar with the parties taking part in the transaction. The real estate agent is the most recognizable face in the exchange. Next, the bank provides the money required to bankroll the exchange. The title company makes sure that all details of the exchange are completed and that a clear title transfers to the buyer from the seller.

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So, who's responsible for making sure the real estate is worth the purchase price? In comes 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 Hopper-King & Assoc. will ensure, you as an interested party, are informed.

The inspection is where an appraisal begins

To ascertain the true status of the property, it's our responsibility to first perform a thorough inspection. We must actually view features, such as the number of bedrooms and bathrooms, the location, amenities, etc., to ensure they indeed exist and are in the shape a reasonable person would expect them to be. To ensure the stated size of the property is accurate and illustrate the layout of the home, 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 property.

Following the inspection, an appraiser uses 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

Here, the appraiser uses information on local building costs, labor rates and other elements to ascertain how much it would cost to replace the property being appraised. This estimate usually sets the maximum on what a property would sell for. It's also the least used method.

Paired Sales Analysis

Appraisers are intimately familiar with the communities in which they appraise. They innately understand the value of specific features to the people of that area. Then, the appraiser researches recent transactions in the area and finds properties which are 'comparable' to the subject at hand. Using knowledge of the value of certain items such as upgraded appliances, additional 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 property.

  • If, for example, the comparable property has an irrigation system and the subject doesn't, the appraiser may deduct the value of an irrigation system 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.

Once all necessary adjustments have been made, 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 Stone Mountain and Dekalb, Hopper-King & Assoc. can't be beat. This approach to value is usually given the most consideration when an appraisal is for a real estate purchase.

Valuation Using the Income Approach

A third way of valuing a house is sometimes used when an area has a reasonable number of renter occupied properties. In this case, the amount of income the real estate produces is factored in with income produced by neighboring properties to determine the current value.

Reconciliation

Analyzing the data from all applicable approaches, the appraiser is then ready to document an estimated market value for the property at hand. It is important to note that while this amount is probably the strongest indication of what a house is worth, it probably will not be the final sales price. 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'. But the appraised value is often employed as a guideline for lenders who don't want to loan a buyer more money than they could get back in the event they had to sell the property again. At the end of the day, an appraiser from Hopper-King & Assoc. will guarantee you discover the most accurate property value, so you can make wise real estate decisions.