What Is an Appraisal?

Their home's purchase can be the most significant investment many of us could ever make. Whether it's a primary residence, an additional vacation property or a rental fixer upper, purchasing real property is a detailed financial transaction that requires multiple parties to pull it all off.

Practically all the participants are quite familiar. The real estate agent is the most familiar person in the transaction. Then, the bank provides the financial capital needed to bankroll the exchange. And ensuring all areas of the sale 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 property is worth the purchase price? 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 licensed, certified, professional appraiser from Frigoletto & Associates Inc. will ensure, you as an interested party, are informed.

Appraisals begin with the property inspection

Our first responsibility at Frigoletto & Associates Inc. is to inspect the property to ascertain its true status. We must physically see features, such as the number of bedrooms and bathrooms, the location, living areas, etc, to ensure they really exist 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 proper and illustrating the layout of the property. Most importantly, we look for any obvious features - or defects - that would affect the value of the property.

Once the site has been inspected, 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 pull information on local construction costs, labor rates and other factors to determine how much it would cost to replace the property being appraised. This estimate often sets the upper limit on what a property would sell for. It's also the least used predictor of value.

Sales Comparison

Appraisers can tell you a lot about the neighborhoods in which they work. They innately understand the value of certain features to the people of that area. Then, the appraiser looks up recent sales in close proximity to the subject and finds properties which are 'comparable' to the subject in question. By assigning a dollar value to certain items such as square footage, additional bathrooms, hardwood floors, fireplaces or view lots (just to name a few), we adjust the comparable properties so that they are more accurately in line with the features of subject property.

  • If, for example, the comparable property has an extra half bath that the subject doesn't, the appraiser may subtract the value of that half bath from the sales price of the comparable home.
  • However, 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.

An opinion of what the subject might sell for can only be determined once all differences between the comps and the subject have been evaluated. At Frigoletto & Associates Inc., we are experts in knowing the worth of real estate features in Leominster and Worcester County neighborhoods. The sales comparison approach to value is usually awarded the most weight when an appraisal is for a real estate exchange.

Valuation Using the Income Approach

In the case of income producing properties - rental houses for example - the appraiser may use an additional way of valuing a house. In this situation, the amount of revenue the real estate generates is factored in with income produced by nearby properties to determine the current value.

Coming Up With The Final Value

Examining the data from all approaches, the appraiser is then ready to put down an estimated market value for the property in question. 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. Depending on the specific circumstances of the buyer or seller, their level of urgency or a buyer's desire for that exact property, the closing price of a home can always be driven up or down.But the appraised value is often used as a guideline for lenders who don't want to loan a buyer more money than the property is actually worth. The bottom line is, an appraiser from Frigoletto & Associates Inc. will guarantee you discover the most accurate property value, so you can make wise real estate decisions.