What Are the Components of an Appraisal?

A home purchase can be the most important transaction most people might ever make. Whether it's a main residence, a second vacation home or an investment, the purchase of real property is a complex transaction that requires multiple people working in concert 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 transaction is the real estate agent. Then, the lender provides the financial capital needed to bankroll the transaction. And ensuring all aspects of the transaction are completed and that a clear title transfers to the buyer from the seller is the title company.

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 makes sure the value of the property is in line with the amount being paid? In comes the appraiser. We provide an unbiased opinion 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 Capuano Appraisal Services, LLC will ensure, you as an interested party, are informed.

Inspecting the subject property

Our first task at Capuano Appraisal Services, LLC is to inspect the property to ascertain its true status. We must actually view aspects of the property, such as the number of bedrooms and bathrooms, the location, amenities, etc., to ensure they really exist and are in the condition a typical person would expect them to be. The inspection often includes a sketch of the house, ensuring the square footage is proper and illustrating the layout of the property. Most importantly, we look for any obvious amenities - or defects - that would affect the value of the property.

Once the site has been inspected, we use two or three approaches to determining the value of real property: a paired sales analysis, a replacement cost calculation, and an income approach when rental properties are prevalent.

Cost Approach

This is where we pull information on local construction costs, labor rates and other factors to ascertain how much it would cost to replace the property being appraised. This estimate often sets the maximum on what a property would sell for. It's also the least used predictor of value.

Paired Sales Analysis

Appraisers are intimately familiar with the subdivisions in which they work. They innately understand the value of particular features to the homeowners of that area. Then, the appraiser researches recent transactions in the neighborhood and finds properties which are 'comparable' to the home at hand. By assigning a dollar value to certain items such as upgraded appliances, additional bathrooms, 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 property.

  • For example, if the comparable property has an extra half bath that the subject does not, 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 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 Capuano Appraisal Services, LLC, we are experts in knowing the value of real estate features in Bristow and Prince William County neighborhoods. This approach to value is commonly given the most weight when an appraisal is for a home exchange.

Valuation Using the Income Approach

A third way of valuing a house is sometimes used when a neighborhood has a reasonable number of rental properties. In this scenario, the amount of revenue the property yields is factored in with other rents in the area for comparable properties to determine the current value.

Reconciliation

Combining information from all approaches, the appraiser is then ready to state an estimated market value for the property in question. Note: While this amount is probably the strongest indication of what a house is worth, it probably will not be the final sales price. There are always mitigating factors such as seller motivation, urgency or 'bidding wars' that may adjust an offer or listing price up or down. Regardless, 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 the event they had to put the property on the market again. Here's what it all boils down to, an appraiser from Capuano Appraisal Services, LLC will help you get the most accurate property value, so you can make the most informed real estate decisions.