What goes into an appraisal?

Acquiring real estate is the largest investment some people will ever make. Whether it's a main residence, an additional vacation home or one of many rentals, the purchase of real property is a complex financial transaction that requires multiple people working in concert to pull it all off.

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It's likely you are familiar with the parties taking part in the transaction. The most familiar person in the exchange is the real estate agent. Then, the mortgage company provides the money required to finance the deal. The title company makes sure that all aspects of the sale are completed and that the title is clear to transfer from the seller to the buyer.

So who's responsible for making sure the value of the real estate is in line with the amount being paid?   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 professional Florida licensed appraiser from Ancient City Appraisals will ensure you as an interested party are informed.

The inspection is where an appraisal begins

Our first duty at Ancient City Appraisals is to inspect the property to determine its true status. We must physically see features, such as the number of bedrooms and bathrooms, the location, living areas, etc., to ensure they indeed are present and are in the shape a typical buyer would expect them to be. The inspection often includes a sketch of the floor plan, ensuring the square footage is accurate 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.

Following the inspection, an appraiser employs two or three approaches when determining the value of real property: a paired sales analysis, a replacement cost calculation, and an income approach when rental properties are prevalent.

Replacement Cost

Here, we analyze information on local construction costs, the cost of labor and other factors to calculate how much it would cost to construct a property similar to the one being appraised. This value usually sets the upper limit on what a property would sell for. It's also the least used method.

Analyzing Comparable Sales

Appraisers get to know the communities in which they appraise. We thoroughly understand the value of specific features to the residents of that area. Then, the appraiser researches recent transactions in close proximity to the subject and finds properties which are 'comparable' to the subject at hand. Using knowledge of the value of certain items such as upgraded appliances, additional bathrooms, an additional living area, quality of construction, lot size, we add or subtract from each comparable's sales price so that they are more accurately in line with the features of subject.

  • For example, if the comparable has an extra half bath that the subject doesn't, the appraiser may deduct the value of that half bath 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.
When it comes to putting a value on features of homes in St Augustine and Saint Johns, Ancient City Appraisals can't be beat. This approach to value is usually awarded the most importance when an appraisal is for a real estate sale.

Valuation Using the Income Approach

A third method of valuing a house is sometimes employed when a neighborhood has a reasonable number of renter occupied properties. In this situation, the amount of income the real estate generates is factored in with income produced by similar properties to derive the current value.

Putting It All Together

Analyzing the data from all applicable approaches, the appraiser is then ready to stipulate an estimated market value for the subject property. Note: While the appraised value is probably the strongest indication of what a house would sell for in an open market, it may not be the final sales price. Depending on the specific circumstances 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 employed as a guideline for lenders who don't want to loan a buyer more money than the property would likely sell for in an open marketplace. It all comes down to this: An appraiser from Ancient City Appraisals will guarantee you get the most accurate property value, so you can make profitable real estate decisions.