Decoding the Appraisal ProcessAcquiring a home is the most serious transaction most might ever encounter. Whether it's where you raise your family, a seasonal vacation property or a rental fixer upper, purchasing real property is a detailed transaction that requires multiple people working in concert to pull it all off.
You're likely to be familiar with the parties taking part in the transaction. The most known person in the exchange is the real estate agent. Then, the mortgage company provides the financial capital needed to fund the deal. Ensuring all aspects of the transaction are completed and that a clear title transfers to the buyer from the seller is the title company.
So who's responsible for making sure the real estate is consistent with the amount being paid? In comes 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 professional Pennsylvania licensed appraiser from Stover Appraisals will ensure you as an interested party are informed.
Inspecting the subject propertyMy first responsibility is to inspect the property to ascertain its true status. I must see features first hand, such as the number of bedrooms and bathrooms, the location, living areas, etc., to ensure they really are there and are in the shape a typical person would expect them to be. To make sure the stated square footage has not been misrepresented and illustrate the layout of the home, the inspection often entails creating a sketch of the floor plan. Most importantly, we look for any obvious amenities - or defects - that would affect the value of the house.
Back at the office, I use two or three approaches when determining the value of the property: paired sales analysis and, in the case of a rental property, an income approach.
Cost ApproachHere, the appraiser analyzes information on local construction costs, the cost of labor and other elements to derive how much it would cost to build a property similar to the one being appraised. This estimate commonly sets the maximum on what a property would sell for. It's also the least used predictor of value.
Paired Sales AnalysisAppraisers are intimately familiar with the neighborhoods in which they appraise. I thoroughly understand the value of specific features to the people of that area. Then, the appraiser looks up recent sales in close proximity to the subject and finds properties which are 'comparable' to the property at hand. Using knowledge of the value of certain items such as upgraded appliances, extra bathrooms, an additional living area, quality of construction, lot size, we adjust the comparable properties so that they more accurately portray the features of subject property.
Valuation Using the Income ApproachIn the case of income producing properties - rental houses for example - the appraiser may use an additional method of valuing a house. In this situation, the amount of income the property generates is factored in with income produced by comparable properties to determine the current value.
Coming Up With the Final ValueCombining information from all approaches, the appraiser is then ready to stipulate an estimated market value for the subject property. Note: While the appraised value is probably the best indication of what a property would sell for in an open market, it may not be the price at which the property closes. Prices can always 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 they could recover in case they had to put the property on the market again. It all comes down to this: Stover Appraisals will help you get the most fair and balanced property value, so you can make profitable real estate decisions.