A Description of the Appraisal Process

Their home's purchase is the biggest financial decision many may ever encounter. Whether it's a primary residence, a second vacation property or one of many rentals, the purchase of real property is a detailed transaction that requires multiple people working in concert to make it all happen.

Most of the people involved are very familiar. The real estate agent is the most recognizable face in the exchange. Then, the bank provides the financial capital required to bankroll the exchange. And the title company ensures that all areas of the exchange are completed and that the title is clear to transfer from the seller to the buyer.

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 property is worth the purchase price? This is where you meet the appraiser. We provide an unbiased estimate of what a buyer could 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.

Appraisals start with the inspection

Our first task at RJE Real Estate Appraisal Service is to inspect the property to ascertain its true status. We must physically view features, such as the number of bedrooms and bathrooms, the location, amenities, etc., to ensure they indeed exist and are in the condition a reasonable person would expect them to be. The inspection often includes a sketch of the floorplan, ensuring the square footage is accurate and conveying the layout of the property. Most importantly, the appraiser identifies any obvious amenities - or defects - that would affect the value of the house.

After 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.

Replacement Cost

This is where we analyze information on local building costs, the cost of labor and other factors to derive how much it would cost to replace the property being appraised. This figure often sets the maximum on what a property would sell for. It's also the least used method.

Sales Comparison

Appraisers can tell you a lot about the subdivisions in which they work. They thoroughly understand the value of certain features to the homeowners of that area. Then, the appraiser looks up recent sales in the neighborhood and finds properties which are 'comparable' to the home at hand. By assigning a dollar value to certain items such as square footage, additional bathrooms, hardwood floors, fireplaces or view lots (just to name a few), we adjust the comparable properties so that they more accurately match the features of subject.

  • If, for example, the comparable property has a fireplace and the subject does not, the appraiser may subtract the value of a fireplace from the sales price of the comparable.
  • 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 true estimate 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 can't be beat. The sales comparison approach to value is usually given the most importance when an appraisal is for a real estate sale.

Valuation Using the Income Approach

A third method of valuing a house is sometimes used when an area has a measurable number of rental properties. In this situation, the amount of revenue the real estate generates is factored in with income produced by comparable properties to derive the current value.

Putting It All Together

Combining information from all applicable approaches, the appraiser is then ready to document an estimated market value for the subject property. The estimate of value at the bottom of the appraisal report is not always the final sales price even though it is likely the best indication of a property's valuePrices 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 employed as a guideline for lenders who don't want to loan a buyer more money than they could get back in case they had to sell the property again. It all comes down to this, an appraiser from RJE Real Estate Appraisal Service will help you discover the most accurate property value, so you can make the most informed real estate decisions.