What Goes Into an Appraisal?

Getting real estate is the most important financial decision most might ever encounter. Whether it's a main residence, a second vacation home or one of many rentals, the purchase of real property is a complex transaction that requires multiple parties to make it all happen.

The majority of the participants are quite familiar. The most known entity in the exchange is the real estate agent. Then, the mortgage company provides the financial capital needed to finance the deal. And ensuring all details of the exchange are completed and that the title is clear to pass 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 is responsible for making sure the value of the property is consistent 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 property, where both buyer and seller are informed parties. A licensed, certified, professional appraiser from Frigoletto & Associates Inc. will ensure, you as an interested party, are informed.

Inspecting the subject property

Our first responsibility at Frigoletto & Associates Inc. is to inspect the property to determine its true status. We must actually view features, such as the number of bedrooms and bathrooms, the location, and so on, to ensure they really are present and are in the shape a typical buyer would expect them to be. The inspection often includes a sketch of the house, ensuring the square footage is accurate and illustrating the layout of the property. Most importantly, we identify any obvious features - or defects - that would affect 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.

Cost Approach

Here, we pull information on local construction costs, the cost of labor and other factors to determine how much it would cost to construct a property comparable to the one being appraised. This estimate usually sets the upper limit on what a property would sell for. The cost approach is also the least used method.

Paired Sales Analysis

Appraisers are intimately familiar with the communities in which they appraise. They innately understand the value of particular features to the residents of that area. Then, the appraiser looks up recent sales in the neighborhood and finds properties which are 'comparable' to the home being appraised. Using knowledge of the value of certain items such as remodeled rooms, types of flooring, energy efficient items, patios and porches, or extra storage space, we adjust the comparable properties 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 does not, the appraiser may subtract the value of that half bath 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.

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 Frigoletto & Associates Inc., we are an authority in knowing the worth of particular items in Leominster and Worcester County neighborhoods. This approach to value is commonly awarded the most importance when an appraisal is for a real estate sale.

Valuation Using the Income Approach

A third method of valuing approach to value is sometimes employed when an area has a measurable number of rental properties. In this situation, the amount of revenue the property generates is taken into consideration along with income produced by neighboring properties to derive the current value.

Reconciliation

Combining information from all approaches, the appraiser is then ready to document an estimated market value for the property at hand. It is important to note that while this amount is probably the most accurate indication of what a property is worth, it probably will not be the price at which the property closes. There are always mitigating factors such as seller motivation, urgency or 'bidding wars' that may adjust an offer or listing price up or down. But the appraised value is typically used as a guideline for lenders who don't want to loan a buyer more money than they could get back in case they had to sell the property again. It all comes down to this, an appraiser from Frigoletto & Associates Inc. will help you get the most accurate property value, so you can make profitable real estate decisions.