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Real Estate Appraisals: A Primer

Buying a home can be the most significant transaction some may ever consider. Whether it's where you raise your family, a second vacation property or one of many rentals, purchasing real property is an involved transaction that requires multiple parties to see it through.

Most of the participants are very familiar. The most familiar entity in the transaction is the real estate agent. Next, the bank provides the financial capital necessary to finance the deal. And ensuring all details of the transaction are completed and that a clear title passes to the buyer from the seller 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 is responsible for making sure the value of the real estate is in line with the amount being paid? In comes the appraiser. We provide an unbiased estimate of what a buyer might expect to pay — or a seller receive — for a parcel of real estate, where both buyer and seller are informed parties. A licensed, certified, professional appraiser from Young Real Estate Appraisals will ensure, you as an interested party, are informed.

Appraisals begin with the inspection

To ascertain the true status of the property, it's our responsibility to first conduct a thorough inspection. We 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 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 have an impact on the value of the property.

Back at the office, we use two or three approaches to determining the value of the property: sales comparison and, in the case of a rental property, an income approach.

Replacement Cost

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

Paired Sales Analysis

Appraisers are intimately familiar with the communities in which they work. They thoroughly understand the value of particular features to the people of that area. Then, the appraiser looks up recent sales in the neighborhood and finds properties which are 'comparable' to the subject in question. Using knowledge of the value of certain items such as upgraded appliances, additional bathrooms, additional living area, quality of construction, lot size, we adjust the comparable properties so that they more accurately match the features of subject property.

  • For example, if the comparable property has an irrigation system and the subject doesn't, the appraiser may deduct the value of an irrigation system from the sales price of the comparable.
  • But, 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. At Young Real Estate Appraisals, we are experts when it comes to knowing the worth of particular items in Palm Desert and Riverside County neighborhoods. The sales comparison approach to value is most often 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 - the appraiser may use a third method of valuing a property. In this scenario, the amount of revenue the real estate yields is taken into consideration along with other rents in the area for comparable properties to give an indicator of the current value.

Coming Up With The Final Value

Combining information from all applicable approaches, the appraiser is then ready to stipulate an estimated market value for the subject property. The estimate of value on the appraisal report is not necessarily the final sales price even though it is likely the best indication of a property's valueDepending on the specific 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.Regardless, the appraised value is often employed 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 Young Real Estate Appraisals will guarantee you discover the most accurate property value, so you can make the most informed real estate decisions.