Real Estate Appraisals: A Primer

One's home purchase is the most significant transaction many of us will ever make. It doesn't matter if it's where you raise your family, an additional vacation home or a rental fixer upper, purchasing real property is a detailed transaction that requires multiple parties to make it all happen.

To learn more about appraising, click here to see a short video or call us today to talk about your specific property.

Most people are familiar with the parties taking part in the transaction. The most recognizable person in the transaction is the real estate agent. Then, the mortgage company provides the financial capital needed to fund the exchange. Ensuring all details of the transaction are completed and that the title is clear to pass from the seller to the buyer is the title company.

So who makes sure the real estate is consistent with the amount being paid?   This is where the appraiser comes in.   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 professional North Carolina licensed appraiser from Pendleton Appraisals will ensure you as an interested party are informed.

The inspection is where an appraisal begins

To ascertain the true status of the property, it's our duty to first conduct a thorough inspection. We must physically see aspects of the property, such as the number of bedrooms and bathrooms, the location, amenities, etc., to ensure they indeed are there and are in the shape a reasonable person would expect them to be. To ensure the stated square footage has not been misrepresented and document the layout of the home, the inspection often entails creating a sketch of the floor plan. Most importantly, the appraiser looks for any obvious features - or defects - that would have an impact on the value of the house.

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

Cost Approach

Here, the appraiser gathers information on local construction costs, labor rates and other elements to figure out how much it would cost to replace the property being appraised. This figure often sets the maximum on what a property would sell for. The cost approach is also the least used predictor of value.

Analyzing Comparable Sales

Appraisers get to know the subdivisions in which they work. We innately understand the value of particular 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 real estate being appraised. By assigning a dollar value to certain items such as upgraded appliances, extra bathrooms, an additional living area, quality of construction, lot size, we adjust the comparable properties so that they are more accurately in line with the features of subject property.

  • Say, for example, the comparable has a storm shelter and the subject does not, the appraiser may deduct the value of a storm shelter from the sales price of the comparable.
  • 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.
When it comes to putting a value on features of homes in Asheboro and Randolph, Pendleton Appraisals is second to none. The sales comparison approach to value is usually awarded the most weight when an appraisal is for a real estate sale.

Valuation Using the Income Approach

In the case of income producing properties - rental houses for example - the appraiser may use a third approach to value. In this case, the amount of revenue the real estate yields is factored in with income produced by comparable properties to give an indicator of 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. It is important to note that while this amount is probably the strongest indication of what a house would sell for in an open market, it may 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 typically used 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 Pendleton Appraisals will help you get the most accurate property value, so you can make wise real estate decisions.

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