What Are the Components of an Appraisal?

Purchasing a home is the most important transaction many people may ever encounter. Whether it's where you raise your family, an additional vacation property or a rental fixer upper, the purchase of real property is a detailed financial 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 most known face in the transaction is the real estate agent. Next, the bank provides the financial capital necessary to finance the transaction. And the title company makes sure that all areas of the exchange are completed and that a clear title passes from the seller to the purchaser.

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So, who makes sure the property is worth the amount being paid? In comes 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 Shamrock Appraisals, Inc. will ensure, you as an interested party, are informed.

Inspecting the subject property

Our first task at Shamrock Appraisals, Inc. is to inspect the property to determine its true status. We must see features first hand, such as the number of bedrooms and bathrooms, the location, living areas, etc, to ensure they really exist and are in the condition a typical buyer would expect them to be. The inspection often includes a sketch of the floorplan, ensuring the square footage is accurate 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 house.

Once the site has been inspected, 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, the appraiser analyzes information on local construction costs, the cost of labor and other factors to calculate how much it would cost to construct a property comparable to the one being appraised. This estimate commonly sets the upper limit on what a property would sell for. It's also the least used predictor of value.

Paired Sales Analysis

Appraisers can tell you a lot about the neighborhoods in which they work. They thoroughly understand the value of specific features to the residents of that area. Then, the appraiser researches recent transactions in the area and finds properties which are 'comparable' to the property in question. By assigning a dollar value to certain items such as fireplaces, room layout, appliance upgrades, extra 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 property.

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

After all differences have been accounted for, the appraiser reconciles the adjusted sales prices of all the comps and then derives an opinion of what the subject could sell for. When it comes to putting a value on features of homes in Tuscaloosa and Tuscaloosa, Shamrock Appraisals, Inc. can't be beat. This approach to value is most often given the most importance when an appraisal is for a home sale.

Valuation Using the Income Approach

In the case of income producing properties - rental houses for example - we may use a third approach to value. In this situation, the amount of income the property produces is taken into consideration along with other rents in the area for comparable properties to derive the current value.

The Bottom Line

Examining the data from all applicable approaches, the appraiser is then ready to document an estimated market value for the property at hand. Note: While this amount is probably the best indication of what a property is worth, it may not be the price at which the property closes. 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 typically used as a guideline for lenders who don't want to loan a buyer more money than the property is actually worth. Here's what it all boils down to, an appraiser from Shamrock Appraisals, Inc. will help you get the most accurate property value, so you can make wise real estate decisions.