Decoding the Appraisal ProcessBuying a house can be the most serious investment some of us may ever encounter. It doesn't matter if it's a primary residence, a seasonal vacation property or a rental fixer upper, purchasing real property is a detailed financial transaction that requires multiple people working in concert to make it all happen.
Most people are familiar with the parties having a role in the transaction. The most familiar person in the transaction is the real estate agent. Next, the bank provides the money needed to fund the exchange. Ensuring all areas of the transaction are completed and that the title is clear to transfer from the seller to the purchaser is the title company.
So who's responsible for making sure the value of the real estate is consistent with the amount being paid? This is where the appraiser comes in. 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 professional Florida licensed appraiser from Douglas W. Brown & Associates, Inc. will ensure you as an interested party are informed.
The inspection is where an appraisal startsOur first task at Douglas W. Brown & Associates, Inc. is to inspect the property to determine its true status. We must actually see aspects of the property, such as the number of bedrooms and bathrooms, the location, living areas, etc., to ensure they really are there and are in the condition a reasonable person would expect them to be. The inspection often includes a sketch of the house, ensuring the square footage is accurate and illustrating the layout of the property. Most importantly, the appraiser identifies any obvious features - or defects - that would affect the value of the house.
After the inspection, we use two or three approaches when determining the value of real property: a sales comparison, a replacement cost calculation, and an income approach when rental properties are prevalent.
Replacement CostHere, the appraiser gathers information on local building costs, the cost of labor and other factors to ascertain how much it would cost to construct a property similar to the one being appraised. This value often sets the upper limit on what a property would sell for. It's also the least used method.
Analyzing Comparable SalesAppraisers get to know the subdivisions in which they appraise. We thoroughly understand the value of certain features to the homeowners of that area. Then, the appraiser researches recent transactions in the neighborhood and finds properties which are 'comparable' to the property being appraised. 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 more accurately match the features of subject.
Valuation Using the Income ApproachIn the case of income producing properties - rental houses for example - the appraiser may use a third way of valuing a house. In this situation, the amount of income the real estate produces is taken into consideration along with other rents in the area for comparable properties to determine the current value.
Arriving at a Value ConclusionExamining 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 the appraised value is probably the most reliable indication of what a property would sell for in an open market, it may not be the price at which the property closes. Depending on the individual situations 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 the property would likely sell for in an open marketplace. It all comes down to this: An appraiser from Douglas W. Brown & Associates, Inc. will help you attain the most fair and balanced property value, so you can make the most informed real estate decisions.