Understanding the Appraisal Process

Purchasing a house can be the most serious financial decision most of us could ever consider. It doesn't matter if where you raise your family, a seasonal vacation home or a rental fixer upper, purchasing real property is a detailed financial transaction that requires multiple parties to pull it all off.

It's likely you are familiar with the parties having a role in the transaction. The real estate agent is the most familiar person in the exchange. Then, the mortgage company provides the money necessary to fund the exchange. The title company ensures that all requirements of the exchange are completed and that the title is clear to transfer 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, what party makes sure the value of the property is consistent 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 Nordquist Appraisal LLC will ensure, you as an interested party, are informed.

Appraisals start with the inspection

Our first duty 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, living areas, etc, to ensure they indeed are there and are in the shape a typical buyer would expect them to be. The inspection often includes a sketch of the floorplan, ensuring the square footage is accurate and illustrating the layout of the property. Most importantly, we look for 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 sales comparison, a replacement cost calculation, and an income approach when rental properties are prevalent.

Cost Approach

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

Sales Comparison

Appraisers become very familiar with the subdivisions in which they work. They innately understand the value of certain features to the homeowners of that area. Then, the appraiser researches recent sales in the area and finds properties which are 'comparable' to the property in question. Using knowledge of the value of certain items such as fireplaces, room layout, appliance upgrades, extra bathrooms or bedrooms, or quality of construction, we adjust the comparable properties so that they are more accurately in line with the features of subject.

  • If, for example, the comparable property has an irrigation system and the subject does not, the appraiser may subtract the value of an irrigation system from the sales price of the comparable home.
  • 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 Pittsburgh and Allegheny, Nordquist Appraisal LLC can't be beat. This approach to value is usually given the most consideration when an appraisal is for a home exchange.

Valuation Using the Income Approach

A third way of valuing a property is sometimes applied when an area has a measurable number of rental properties. In this case, the amount of income the property produces is taken into consideration along with other rents in the area for comparable properties to give an indicator of the current value.

Reconciliation

Combining information from all applicable approaches, the appraiser is then ready to document an estimated market value for the property at hand. Note: While this amount is probably the strongest indication of what a house is worth, it may not be the final sales price. Depending on the individual 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.But 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 put the property on the market again. The bottom line is, an appraiser from Nordquist Appraisal LLC will help you discover the most fair and balanced property value, so you can make profitable real estate decisions.

Got a Question?

Do you have a question relating to real estate appraisals? We can help. Simply fill out the form below and we'll contact you with the answer, with no obligation to you. We guarantee your privacy.

Information
Question