What Goes Into an Appraisal?

Their home's purchase is the most significant transaction most people might ever consider. Whether it's a primary residence, a second vacation home or one of many rentals, the purchase of real property is an involved transaction that requires multiple people working in concert to see it through.

The majority of the participants are very familiar. The real estate agent is the most familiar person in the exchange. Then, the lender provides the financial capital necessary to finance the deal. The title company ensures that all requirements of the sale are completed and that the title is clear to transfer from the seller to the purchaser.

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

So, who makes sure the value of the property 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 property, where both buyer and seller are informed parties. A licensed, certified, professional appraiser from RJE Real Estate Appraisal Service will ensure, you as an interested party, are informed.

Inspecting the subject property

To determine the true status of the property, it's our responsibility to first perform a thorough inspection. We must actually see aspects of the property, such as the number of bedrooms and bathrooms, the location, amenities, etc., to ensure they indeed are there and are in the condition a reasonable person would expect them to be. To ensure the stated square footage has not been misrepresented and describe the layout of the home, the inspection often includes creating a sketch of the floorplan. Most importantly, the appraiser looks for any obvious features - or defects - that would affect the value of the house.

Following the inspection, 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, the appraiser analyzes information on local building costs, the cost of labor and other elements to determine how much it would cost to construct a property nearly identical to the one being appraised. This value usually sets the maximum on what a property would sell for. The cost approach is also the least used predictor of value.

Analyzing Comparable Sales

Appraisers are intimately familiar with the subdivisions in which they appraise. They thoroughly understand the value of certain features to the homeowners of that area. Then, the appraiser researches recent sales in close proximity to the subject and finds properties which are 'comparable' to the home in question. By assigning a dollar value to certain items such as fireplaces, room layout, appliance upgrades, additional bathrooms or bedrooms, or quality of construction, we adjust the comparable properties so that they more accurately match the features of subject.

  • If, for example, the comparable property has an extra half bath that the subject does not, the appraiser may subtract the value of that half bath from the sales price of the comparable home.
  • However, if the subject has an extra half-bathroom and the comparable does not, the appraiser might add an amount to the comparable property.

An opinion 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 putting a value on features of homes in Ann Arbor and Washtenaw, RJE Real Estate Appraisal Service is your local authority. This approach to value is commonly given the most weight when an appraisal is for a home sale.

Valuation Using the Income Approach

A third way of valuing real estate is sometimes applied when an area has a reasonable number of renter occupied properties. In this situation, the amount of revenue 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.

Coming Up With The Final Value

Combining information from all applicable approaches, the appraiser is then ready to document an estimated market value for the subject property. Note: While this amount is probably the strongest indication of what a property is worth, 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 often used as a guideline for lenders who don't want to loan a buyer more money than the property is actually worth. Here's what it all boils down to, an appraiser from RJE Real Estate Appraisal Service will guarantee you attain the most fair and balanced property value, so you can make profitable real estate decisions.