Real Property Appraisals: A Primer

Purchasing a home is the largest financial decision most of us could ever consider. Whether it's a primary residence, a second vacation home or an investment, purchasing real property is an involved financial transaction that requires multiple people working in concert to make it all happen.

Most of the participants are quite familiar. The real estate agent is the most known person in the transaction. Next, the lender provides the financial capital necessary to fund the exchange. And ensuring all aspects of the transaction are completed and that a clear title transfers 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 real estate is in line with the purchase price? 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 All City Appraisal will ensure, you as an interested party, are informed.

Inspecting the subject property

Our first duty at All City Appraisal is to inspect the property to determine its true status. We must see aspects of the property hands on, such as the number of bedrooms and bathrooms, the location, and so on, to ensure they indeed are present and are in the condition a typical person would expect them to be. The inspection often includes a sketch of the floorplan, ensuring the square footage is proper and illustrating the layout of the property. Most importantly, we look for any obvious amenities - or defects - that would have an impact on the value of the house.

Back at the office, we use two or three approaches to determining the value of the property: sales comparison and, in the case of a rental property, an income approach.

Cost Approach

Here, we pull 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 estimate often sets the maximum on what a property would sell for. The cost approach is also the least used predictor of value.

Paired Sales Analysis

Appraisers can tell you a lot about the neighborhoods in which they appraise. They thoroughly understand the value of particular features to the people of that area. Then, the appraiser looks up recent sales in close proximity to the subject and finds properties which are 'comparable' to the subject being appraised. Using knowledge of the value of 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 property.

  • For example, if the comparable has an irrigation system and the subject does not, the appraiser may deduct the value of an irrigation system from the sales price of the comparable.
  • If the subject property has an extra half-bathroom and the comparable does not, the appraiser might add an amount to the comparable property.

A true estimate of what the subject might 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 Woodland Hills and Los Angeles, All City Appraisal is your local authority. This approach to value is usually given the most weight when an appraisal is for a home exchange.

Valuation Using the Income Approach

In the case of income producing properties - rental houses for example - the appraiser may use a third method of valuing a property. In this situation, the amount of revenue the real estate produces is taken into consideration along with other rents in the area for comparable properties to give an indicator of the current value.

Arriving at a Value Conclusion

Combining information from all approaches, the appraiser is then ready to stipulate 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 recover in the event they had to sell the property again. Here's what it all boils down to, an appraiser from All City Appraisal will help you attain the most fair and balanced property value, so you can make the most informed real estate decisions.

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