What Goes Into an Appraisal?

A home purchase is the biggest transaction many people could ever make. Whether it's a main residence, a seasonal vacation home or a rental fixer upper, the purchase of real property is a complex transaction that requires multiple people working in concert to pull it all off.

Most people are familiar with the parties taking part in the transaction. The real estate agent is the most familiar person in the transaction. Then, the lender provides the money required to fund the exchange. The title company sees to it that all details of the transaction are completed and that a clear title transfers from the seller to the purchaser.

To learn more about appraising, click here to see a short video or call us today to talk about your specific property.

So, who makes sure the value of the property is in line with the purchase price? This is where you meet the appraiser. 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 Goedker Appraisal Services will ensure, you as an interested party, are informed.

The inspection is where an appraisal starts

Our first task at Goedker Appraisal Services is to inspect the property to ascertain its true status. We must physically view aspects of the property, such as the number of bedrooms and bathrooms, the location, living areas, etc, to ensure they indeed are present and are in the shape a typical buyer would expect them to be. To ensure the stated size of the property has not been misrepresented and illustrate the layout of the house, the inspection often requires creating a sketch of the floorplan. Most importantly, the appraiser identifies any obvious features - or defects - that would have an impact on the value of the house.

Following the inspection, 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

Here, the appraiser analyzes information on local building costs, labor rates and other factors to derive how much it would cost to construct a property nearly identical to the one 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.

Sales Comparison

Appraisers are intimately familiar with the neighborhoods in which they work. They thoroughly understand the value of certain 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 in question. By assigning a dollar value to certain items such as remodeled rooms, types of flooring, energy efficient items, patios and porches, or extra storage space, we add or subtract from each comparable's sales price so that they are more accurately in line with the features of subject.

  • If, for example, the comparable property has a storm shelter and the subject doesn't, the appraiser may subtract the value of a storm shelter from the sales price of the comparable.
  • In the case where the subject has something such as an extra half bath that a comparable doesn't have, the appraiser might add the value of that bath to the comparable property.

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 Goedker Appraisal Services, we are experts when it comes to knowing the worth of particular items in Merrifield and Crow Wing County neighborhoods. This approach to value is commonly given the most weight 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 way of valuing real estate. In this case, the amount of income the property yields is taken into consideration along with other rents in the area for comparable properties to derive the current value.

The Bottom Line

Combining information from all applicable approaches, the appraiser is then ready to stipulate an estimated market value for the property at hand. Note: While the appraised value is probably the strongest indication of what a property is worth, it probably will not be the price at which the property closes. 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 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. The bottom line is, an appraiser from Goedker Appraisal Services will help you get the most fair and balanced property value, so you can make profitable real estate decisions.