What Goes Into an Appraisal?

A home purchase can be the most significant investment some of us will ever consider. It doesn't matter if where you raise your family, an additional vacation property or one of many rentals, purchasing real property is an involved transaction that requires multiple parties to make it all happen.

Most of the participants are quite familiar. The most recognizable entity in the exchange is the real estate agent. Next, the lender provides the money needed to bankroll the deal. And ensuring all aspects of the exchange are completed and that the title is clear to transfer from the seller to the purchaser 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 makes sure the value of the property is in line with the amount being paid? This is where you meet the appraiser. 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 Appraisals by Kana, LLC will ensure, you as an interested party, are informed.

The inspection is where an appraisal begins

Our first responsibility at Appraisals by Kana, LLC is to inspect the property to ascertain its true status. We must see features hands on, such as the number of bedrooms and bathrooms, the location, amenities, etc., to ensure they really exist and are in the condition a typical buyer would expect them to be. To make sure the stated square footage has not been misrepresented and illustrate the layout of the house, the inspection often requires creating a sketch of the floorplan. Most importantly, the appraiser looks for any obvious features - or defects - that would have an impact on the value of the property.

Following the inspection, we use 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.

Cost Approach

Here, the appraiser pulls information on local building costs, the cost of labor and other factors to calculate how much it would cost to construct a property nearly identical to the one being appraised. This estimate often sets the upper limit on what a property would sell for. It's also the least used method.

Sales Comparison

Appraisers get to know the neighborhoods in which they work. They thoroughly understand the value of specific features to the people of that area. Then, the appraiser researches recent sales in the area and finds properties which are 'comparable' to the property being appraised. 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 portray the features of subject property.

  • For example, if the comparable property has a storm shelter and the subject does not, the appraiser may subtract the value of a storm shelter from the sales price of the comparable home.
  • 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. At Appraisals by Kana, LLC, we are an authority in knowing the worth of particular items in Lafayette and Lafayette County neighborhoods. The sales comparison approach to value is typically awarded the most weight when an appraisal is for a home exchange.

Valuation Using the Income Approach

A third method of valuing real estate is sometimes employed when an area has a measurable number of rental properties. In this case, the amount of revenue the real estate generates is factored in with other rents in the area for comparable properties to derive the current value.

The Bottom Line

Analyzing the data from all applicable approaches, the appraiser is then ready to state an estimated market value for the subject property. Note: While this amount is probably the strongest indication of what a house is worth, it probably will not be the price at which the property closes. Depending on the specific circumstances 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 Appraisals by Kana, LLC will guarantee you attain the most fair and balanced property value, so you can make wise real estate decisions.