What Are the Parts of an Appraisal?

Purchasing a house is the most serious transaction some will ever make. Whether it's a primary residence, an additional vacation home or a rental fixer upper, purchasing real property is a detailed financial transaction that requires multiple parties to make it all happen.

Practically all the participants are very familiar. The real estate agent is the most recognizable face in the transaction. Then, the mortgage company provides the financial capital necessary to fund the exchange. And ensuring all areas of the exchange are completed and that the title is clear to transfer to the buyer from the seller is the title company.

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So, who makes sure the property is worth the amount being paid? 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 Citi Appraisal Enterprise will ensure, you as an interested party, are informed.

The inspection is where an appraisal starts

Our first responsibility at Citi Appraisal Enterprise is to inspect the property to ascertain 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 exist and are in the condition a typical person would expect them to be. The inspection often includes a sketch of the property, ensuring the square footage is accurate and illustrating the layout of the property. Most importantly, the appraiser identifies any obvious amenities - or defects - that would have an impact on the value of the house.

After the inspection, 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.

Replacement Cost

Here, we gather information on local construction costs, the cost of labor and other factors to ascertain how much it would cost to replace the property being appraised. This figure often sets the upper limit on what a property would sell for. It's also the least used method.

Paired Sales Analysis

Appraisers become very familiar with the subdivisions in which they appraise. They innately understand the value of certain features to the people of that area. Then, the appraiser researches recent transactions in the vicinity and finds properties which are 'comparable' to the property at hand. By assigning a dollar value to certain items such as fireplaces, room layout, appliance upgrades, additional bathrooms or bedrooms, or quality of construction, we adjust the comparable properties so that they are more accurately in line with the features of subject.

  • If, for example, the comparable has a storm shelter and the subject does not, the appraiser may deduct the value of a storm shelter from the sales price of the comparable home.
  • If the subject property has an extra half-bathroom and the comparable does not, the appraiser might add a certain amount to the comparable property.

A valid estimate of what the subject could 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 given the most importance when an appraisal is for a home sale.

Valuation Using the Income Approach

A third method of valuing approach to value is sometimes applied when an area has a reasonable number of renter occupied properties. In this situation, the amount of income the property yields is taken into consideration along with other rents in the area for comparable properties to derive the current value.

The Bottom Line

Combining information from all approaches, the appraiser is then ready to document an estimated market value for the property in question. Note: While the appraised value is probably the most accurate indication of what a property is worth, it may not be the price at which the property closes. There are always mitigating factors such as seller motivation, urgency or 'bidding wars' that may adjust an offer or listing price up or down. But the appraised value is typically used as a guideline for lenders who don't want to loan a buyer more money than they could get back in case they had to put the property on the market again. Here's what it all boils down to, an appraiser from Citi Appraisal Enterprise will help you discover the most accurate property value, so you can make the most informed real estate decisions.