An Overview of the Appraisal Process

Purchasing a house is the biggest investment most of us might ever make. It doesn't matter if where you raise your family, an additional vacation property or an investment, purchasing real property is a complex transaction that requires multiple parties to pull it all off.

The majority of the people involved are quite familiar. The real estate agent is the most familiar person in the exchange. Then, the bank provides the money required to finance the deal. And the title company makes sure that all requirements of the sale are completed and that the title is clear to pass to the buyer from the seller.

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 property is worth the purchase price? In comes the appraiser. We provide an unbiased estimate 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 MacBride Appraisal will ensure, you as an interested party, are informed.

Appraisals start with the home inspection

To ascertain the true status of the property, it's our responsibility to first perform a thorough inspection. We must see features first hand, such as the number of bedrooms and bathrooms, the location, living areas, etc, to ensure they indeed exist and are in the condition a reasonable buyer would expect them to be. To make sure the stated size of the property is accurate and convey the layout of the house, the inspection often includes creating a sketch of the floorplan. Most importantly, the appraiser identifies any obvious features - or defects - that would have an impact on the value of the property.

After the inspection, an appraiser uses 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.

Replacement Cost

Here, we pull information on local construction costs, the cost of labor 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 get to know the subdivisions in which they appraise. They innately understand the value of specific 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 at hand. By assigning a dollar value to certain items such as fireplaces, room layout, appliance upgrades, extra bathrooms or bedrooms, or quality of construction, we add or subtract from each comparable's sales price so that they are more accurately in line with the features of subject.

  • For example, if the comparable has an irrigation system and the subject doesn't, the appraiser may subtract the value of an irrigation system from the sales price of the comparable home.
  • 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.

Once all necessary adjustments have been made, the appraiser reconciles the adjusted sales prices of all the comps and then derives an opinion of what the subject could sell for. When it comes to putting a value on features of homes in Carlsbad and San Diego, MacBride Appraisal is second to none. The sales comparison approach to value is most often 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 - we may use a third approach to value. In this case, the amount of revenue the real estate yields is taken into consideration along with other rents in the area for comparable properties to give an indicator of 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. It is important to note that while the appraised value is probably the best indication of what a house is worth, it may not be the final sales price. 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.Regardless, 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 MacBride Appraisal will guarantee you get the most accurate property value, so you can make the most informed real estate decisions.