What Goes Into an Appraisal?

Getting real estate is the biggest investment many might ever make. It doesn't matter if where you raise your family, an additional vacation home or a rental fixer upper, the purchase of real property is a detailed transaction that requires multiple parties to pull it all off.

You're likely to be familiar with the parties taking part in the transaction. The real estate agent is the most known entity in the exchange. Then, the bank provides the money required to fund the deal. The title company ensures that all aspects of the transaction are completed and that a clear title passes from the seller to the purchaser.

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 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 Capuano Appraisal Services, LLC will ensure, you as an interested party, are informed.

The inspection is where an appraisal begins

Our first task at Capuano Appraisal Services, LLC is to inspect the property to determine its true status. We must see features hands on, such as the number of bedrooms and bathrooms, the location, living areas, etc, to ensure they really are there and are in the condition a reasonable buyer would expect them to be. To ensure the stated square footage is accurate and document the layout of the house, the inspection often includes creating a sketch of the floorplan. Most importantly, we look for 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, we pull information on local construction costs, labor rates and other elements to derive how much it would cost to construct a property similar to the one being appraised. This estimate commonly sets the maximum on what a property would sell for. The cost approach is also the least used method.

Sales Comparison

Appraisers become very familiar with the communities in which they work. They innately understand the value of particular features to the homeowners of that area. Then, the appraiser researches recent sales 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, additional bathrooms or bedrooms, or quality of construction, we add or subtract from each comparable's sales price so that they more accurately match the features of subject property.

  • 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.
  • However, 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 could sell for can only be determined once all differences between the comps and the subject have been evaluated. When it comes to valuing features of homes in Bristow and Prince William, Capuano Appraisal Services, LLC is second to none. This approach to value is usually given the most consideration when an appraisal is for a home purchase.

Valuation Using the Income Approach

A third way of valuing a house is sometimes used when an area has a measurable number of rental properties. In this situation, the amount of income the property generates is taken into consideration along with other rents in the area for comparable properties to give an indicator of the current value.

Putting It All Together

Examining the data from all approaches, the appraiser is then ready to state an estimated market value for the property at hand. It is important to note that while this amount is probably the strongest indication of what a house is worth, it probably will not be the price at which the property closes. It's not uncommon for prices to be driven up or down by extenuating circumstances like the motivation or urgency of a seller or 'bidding wars'. But the appraised value is often used as a guideline for lenders who don't want to loan a buyer more money than they could recover in case they had to put the property on the market again. At the end of the day, an appraiser from Capuano Appraisal Services, LLC will help you get the most accurate property value, so you can make profitable real estate decisions.