Making Sense of the Appraisal Process

Their home's purchase can be the biggest financial decision most people may ever encounter. It doesn't matter if a primary residence, a seasonal vacation property or a rental fixer upper, purchasing real property is an involved transaction that requires multiple people working in concert to make it all happen.

You're probably familiar with the parties taking part in the transaction. The real estate agent is the most familiar face in the transaction. Then, the bank provides the money needed to bankroll the transaction. And ensuring all areas of the exchange are completed and that the title is clear to pass to the buyer from the seller 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 real estate is worth the purchase price? 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 Citi Appraisal Enterprise will ensure, you as an interested party, are informed.

Inspecting the subject property

Our first duty at Citi Appraisal Enterprise is to inspect the property to ascertain its true status. We must see aspects of the property first hand, such as the number of bedrooms and bathrooms, the location, and so on, to ensure they truly exist and are in the shape a typical person would expect them to be. The inspection often includes a sketch of the property, ensuring the square footage is proper and illustrating the layout of the property. Most importantly, the appraiser identifies any obvious features - or defects - that would have an impact on the value of the property.

Following 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.

Cost Approach

This is where the appraiser gathers information on local building costs, the cost of labor and other elements to determine 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 are intimately familiar with 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 the vicinity and finds properties which are 'comparable' to the real estate being appraised. By assigning a dollar value to certain items such as square footage, extra bathrooms, hardwood floors, fireplaces or view lots (just to name a few), we adjust the comparable properties so that they are more accurately in line with the features of subject property.

  • If, for example, the comparable has a fireplace and the subject doesn't, the appraiser may subtract the value of a fireplace 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.

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. When it comes to putting a value on features of homes in Orlando and Orange, Citi Appraisal Enterprise is second to none. This approach to value is commonly awarded the most weight when an appraisal is for a real estate 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 real estate. In this situation, the amount of revenue the real estate yields is taken into consideration along with income produced by similar properties to determine the current value.

The Bottom Line

Combining information from all approaches, the appraiser is then ready to stipulate an estimated market value for the property at hand. Note: While the appraised value is probably the best indication of what a property is worth, it probably will not be the final sales price. Depending on the individual situations 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 used as a guideline for lenders who don't want to loan a buyer more money than they could get back in the event they had to put the property on the market again. At the end of the day, an appraiser from Citi Appraisal Enterprise will help you get the most accurate property value, so you can make profitable real estate decisions.