What Are the Components of an Appraisal?

Their home's purchase is the largest financial decision some of us may ever encounter. It doesn't matter if where you raise your family, a seasonal vacation property or an investment, the purchase of real property is an involved financial transaction that requires multiple parties to make it all happen.

It's likely you are familiar with the parties having a role in the transaction. The most recognizable entity in the exchange is the real estate agent. Then, the bank provides the financial capital necessary to fund the deal. And the title company sees to it that all areas of the exchange are completed and that a clear title passes to the buyer from the seller.

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So, what party is responsible for making sure the property is worth the purchase price? This is where you meet the appraiser. We provide an unbiased opinion of what a buyer could 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.

Appraisals start with the inspection

To determine the true status of the property, it's our duty to first complete a thorough inspection. We must see features first hand, such as the number of bedrooms and bathrooms, the location, amenities, etc., to ensure they indeed are there and are in the shape a typical buyer would expect them to be. To ensure the stated square footage has not been misrepresented and document the layout of the house, the inspection often requires creating a sketch of the floorplan. Most importantly, we identify any obvious features - or defects - that would have an impact on 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.

Replacement Cost

Here, the appraiser analyzes information on local building costs, the cost of labor and other elements to figure out how much it would cost to replace the property being appraised. This estimate usually sets the maximum on what a property would sell for. It's also the least used method.

Paired Sales Analysis

Appraisers get to know the neighborhoods in which they appraise. They innately understand the value of certain features to the residents of that area. Then, the appraiser looks up recent transactions in the vicinity and finds properties which are 'comparable' to the home at hand. By assigning a dollar value to certain items such as fireplaces, room layout, appliance upgrades, extra bathrooms or bedrooms, or quality of construction, we add or subtract from each comparable's sales price so that they are more accurately in line with the features of subject property.

  • For example, if the comparable property has an extra half bath that the subject doesn't, the appraiser may subtract the value of that half bath from the sales price of the comparable home.
  • However, if the subject has an extra half-bathroom and the comparable does not, the appraiser might add a certain amount to the comparable property.

In the end, the appraiser reconciles the adjusted sales prices of all the comps and then derives an opinion of what the subject could sell for. At Citi Appraisal Enterprise, we are experts in knowing the worth of particular items in Orlando and Orange County neighborhoods. The sales comparison approach to value is most often given the most importance when an appraisal is for a real estate sale.

Valuation Using the Income Approach

A third method of valuing approach to value is sometimes used when a neighborhood has a reasonable number of renter occupied properties. In this case, the amount of revenue the real estate yields is taken into consideration along with other rents in the area for comparable properties to determine the current value.

Coming Up With The Final Value

Analyzing the data from all applicable approaches, the appraiser is then ready to state an estimated market value for the property in question. 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. 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. It all comes down to this, an appraiser from Citi Appraisal Enterprise will guarantee you discover the most fair and balanced property value, so you can make profitable real estate decisions.