Making Sense of the Appraisal Process

A home purchase is the most important financial decision most people may ever make. It doesn't matter if where you raise your family, an additional vacation home or one of many rentals, the purchase of real property is a complex financial transaction that requires multiple parties to pull it all off.

Most people are familiar with the parties taking part in the transaction. The most recognizable entity in the exchange is the real estate agent. Then, the mortgage company provides the money required to finance the transaction. And ensuring all details of the transaction are completed and that a clear title transfers from the seller to the buyer is the title company.

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

So, what party makes sure the real estate is worth the amount being paid? This is where you meet the appraiser. We provide an unbiased estimate 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 Nordquist Appraisal LLC will ensure, you as an interested party, are informed.

Inspecting the subject property

Our first task at Nordquist Appraisal LLC is to inspect the property to determine its true status. We must actually see features, such as the number of bedrooms and bathrooms, the location, and so on, to ensure they really are there 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 proper and illustrating the layout of the property. Most importantly, the appraiser identifies any obvious amenities - or defects - that would affect the value of the house.

Once the site has been inspected, an appraiser uses two or three approaches to determining the value of the property: a paired sales analysis, a replacement cost calculation, and an income approach when rental properties are prevalent.

Cost Approach

Here, the appraiser analyzes information on local building costs, labor rates and other factors to determine how much it would cost to replace the property being appraised. This figure often sets the upper limit on what a property would sell for. The cost approach is also the least used predictor of value.

Sales Comparison

Appraisers become very familiar with the subdivisions in which they work. They innately understand the value of certain features to the residents of that area. Then, the appraiser looks up recent transactions in close proximity to the subject and finds properties which are 'comparable' to the home at hand. 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 property.

  • For example, if the comparable property has a fireplace and the subject does not, the appraiser may deduct the value of a fireplace from the sales price of the comparable home.
  • However, 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.

A valid estimate of what the subject could sell for can only be determined once all differences between the comps and the subject have been evaluated. When it comes to valuing features of homes in Pittsburgh and Allegheny, Nordquist Appraisal LLC is your local authority. This approach to value is commonly awarded the most importance when an appraisal is for a real estate exchange.

Valuation Using the Income Approach

A third method of valuing approach to value is sometimes applied when a neighborhood has a reasonable number of renter occupied properties. In this case, the amount of income the real estate generates is factored in with other rents in the area for comparable properties to give an indicator of the current value.

Reconciliation

Combining information from all approaches, the appraiser is then ready to put down an estimated market value for the subject property. Note: While the appraised value is probably the best indication of what a house is worth, it may not be the final sales price. Depending on the specific circumstances of the buyer or seller, their level of urgency or a buyer's desire for that exact property, the closing price of a home can always be driven 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 the property is actually worth. It all comes down to this, an appraiser from Nordquist Appraisal LLC will guarantee you attain the most fair and balanced property value, so you can make profitable real estate decisions.

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