Making Sense of the Appraisal Process
Getting real estate can be the most significant transaction many of us might ever make. Whether it's where you raise your family, a second vacation property or one of many rentals, the purchase of real property is a complex financial transaction that requires multiple people working in concert to pull it all off.
Most people are familiar with the parties having a role in the transaction. The real estate agent is the most recognizable person in the transaction. Next, the bank provides the financial capital needed to bankroll the deal. And the title company makes sure that all areas of the sale are completed and that a clear title transfers to the buyer from the seller.
So, who makes sure the value of the real estate is in line with 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 parcel of real estate, where both buyer and seller are informed parties. A licensed, certified, professional appraiser from Dougherty & Associates, L.L.C. will ensure, you as an interested party, are informed.
Inspecting the subject property
To determine an accurate status of the property, it's our duty to first conduct a thorough inspection. We must see features hands on, such as the number of bedrooms and bathrooms, the location, living areas, etc, to ensure they really exist and are in the condition a reasonable buyer would expect them to be. To ensure the stated square footage has not been misrepresented and document the layout of the property, the inspection often includes creating a sketch of the floorplan. Most importantly, we look for any obvious amenities - or defects - that would affect the value of the house.
Back at the office, an appraiser uses two or three approaches to determining the value of the property: a paired sales analysis, a replacement cost calculation, and an income approach when rental properties are prevalent.
Here, the appraiser gathers information on local building costs, labor rates and other factors to calculate how much it would cost to replace the property being appraised. This value usually sets the maximum on what a property would sell for. It's also the least used predictor of value.
Analyzing Comparable Sales
Appraisers are intimately familiar with the subdivisions in which they work. They thoroughly understand the value of particular features to the homeowners of that area. Then, the appraiser looks up recent sales in close proximity to the subject and finds properties which are 'comparable' to the real estate being appraised. Using knowledge of the value of certain items such as upgraded appliances, additional bathrooms, additional living area, quality of construction, lot size, we add or subtract from each comparable's sales price so that they are more accurately in line with the features of subject.
An opinion of what the subject might sell for can only be determined once all differences between the comps and the subject have been evaluated. At Dougherty & Associates, L.L.C., we are an authority when it comes to knowing the value of particular items in Mahwah and Warren County neighborhoods. The sales comparison approach to value is commonly given the most weight when an appraisal is for a real estate purchase.
Valuation Using the Income Approach
In the case of income producing properties - rental houses for example - we may use an additional approach to value. In this scenario, the amount of revenue the property produces is taken into consideration along with income produced by comparable properties to derive the current value.
Coming Up With The Final Value
Examining the data from all approaches, the appraiser is then ready to state an estimated market value for the subject property. The estimate of value at the bottom of the appraisal report is not necessarily what's being paid for the property even though it is likely the best indication of what a property is worth. Prices can always be driven up or down by extenuating circumstances like the motivation or urgency of a seller or 'bidding wars'. But the appraised value is often employed 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 Dougherty & Associates, L.L.C. will help you attain the most fair and balanced property value, so you can make profitable real estate decisions.