Buying a house is the biggest financial decision most people may ever consider. Whether it's a main residence, a seasonal vacation property or a rental fixer upper, the purchase of real property is a complex financial transaction that requires multiple parties to see it through.
It's likely you are familiar with the parties having a role in the transaction. The real estate agent is the most recognizable person in the transaction. Then, the mortgage company provides the financial capital needed to bankroll the deal. And the title company ensures that all areas of the transaction are completed and that a clear title passes to the buyer from the seller.
So, what party is responsible for making sure the value of the property is consistent with the purchase price? This is where the appraiser comes in. 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 licensed, certified, professional appraiser from Premier Appraisal of SoCal will ensure, you as an interested party, are informed.
The inspection is where an appraisal starts
To determine the true status of the property, it's our duty to first perform a thorough inspection. We must physically view aspects of the property, such as the number of bedrooms and bathrooms, the location, living areas, etc, to ensure they really are present and are in the shape a reasonable buyer would expect them to be. To make sure the stated square footage is accurate and describe the layout of the house, 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 property.
Once the site has been inspected, an appraiser uses two or three approaches to determining the value of the property: paired sales analysis and, in the case of a rental property, an income approach.
This is where the appraiser analyzes information on local building costs, labor rates and other factors to figure out how much it would cost to build a property similar to the one being appraised. This figure usually sets the upper limit on what a property would sell for. The cost approach is also the least used method.
Paired Sales Analysis
Appraisers become very familiar with the communities in which they work. They innately understand the value of specific features to the residents of that area. Then, the appraiser researches recent sales in close proximity to the subject and finds properties which are 'comparable' to the real estate in question. 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 add or subtract from each comparable's sales price so that they more accurately match the features of subject property.
After all differences have been accounted for, the appraiser reconciles the adjusted sales prices of all the comps and then derives an opinion of what the subject could sell for. At Premier Appraisal of SoCal, we are an authority when it comes to knowing the worth of particular items in Mission Viejo and Orange County neighborhoods. The sales comparison approach to value is commonly given the most importance when an appraisal is for a home purchase.
Valuation Using the Income Approach
In the case of income producing properties - rental houses for example - we may use a third way of valuing a house. 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 determine the current value.
Coming Up With The Final Value
Examining the data from all applicable approaches, the appraiser is then ready to state an estimated market value for the property at hand. The estimate of value on the appraisal report is not necessarily the final sales price even though it is likely the best indication of what a property is worth. There are always mitigating factors such as seller motivation, urgency or 'bidding wars' that may adjust the final price up or down. Regardless, the appraised value is typically used as a guideline for lenders who don't want to loan a buyer more money than the property is actually worth. It all comes down to this, an appraiser from Premier Appraisal of SoCal will help you attain the most accurate property value, so you can make profitable real estate decisions.