Understanding Appraisals

Acquiring a home can be the largest transaction some people will ever consider. It doesn't matter if where you raise your family, an additional vacation property or one of many rentals, the purchase of real property is a complex transaction that requires multiple people working in concert to pull it all off.

Practically all the participants are very familiar. The real estate agent is the most known person in the transaction. Next, the mortgage company provides the financial capital necessary to bankroll the exchange. And ensuring all requirements of the exchange 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, who's responsible for making sure the value of the real estate is consistent with 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 Drach Appraisals will ensure, you as an interested party, are informed.

Appraisals start with the property inspection

Our first duty at Drach Appraisals is to inspect the property to ascertain its true status. We must see aspects of the property first hand, such as the number of bedrooms and bathrooms, the location, amenities, etc., to ensure they indeed are present and are in the shape a reasonable person would expect them to be. The inspection often includes a sketch of the floorplan, ensuring the square footage is proper and illustrating the layout of the property. Most importantly, we identify any obvious features - or defects - that would affect the value of the property.

Following the inspection, an appraiser uses two or three approaches to determining the value of real property: paired sales analysis and, in the case of a rental property, an income approach.

Cost Approach

Here, we analyze information on local construction costs, labor rates and other factors to figure out how much it would cost to construct a property similar to the one being appraised. This value commonly sets the maximum on what a property would sell for. The cost approach is also the least used predictor of value.

Paired Sales Analysis

Appraisers can tell you a lot about the subdivisions in which they work. They thoroughly understand the value of specific features to the homeowners of that area. Then, the appraiser researches recent transactions in close proximity to the subject and finds properties which are 'comparable' to the property in question. Using knowledge of the value of certain items such as upgraded appliances, additional bathrooms, additional living area, quality of construction, lot size, we adjust the comparable properties so that they more accurately portray the features of subject.

  • If, for example, the comparable property has a fireplace and the subject does not, the appraiser may subtract 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.

A valid estimate 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 associating a value with features of homes in North Wales and Montgomery, Drach Appraisals is your local authority. This approach to value is usually given the most consideration when an appraisal is for a home purchase.

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 scenario, the amount of revenue the real estate yields is taken into consideration along with income produced by similar properties to determine the current value.

Putting It All Together

Combining information from all approaches, the appraiser is then ready to put down an estimated market value for the property at hand. The estimate of value on the appraisal report is not always what's being paid for the property even though it is likely the best indication of what a property is worth. There are always mitigating factors such as seller motivation, urgency or 'bidding wars' that may adjust the final price up or down. But the appraised value is often employed 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 Drach Appraisals will help you attain the most accurate property value, so you can make profitable real estate decisions.