What Is an Appraisal?

Their home's purchase can be the most important financial decision most might ever encounter. It doesn't matter if a main 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.

The majority of the participants are very familiar. The real estate agent is the most recognizable entity in the exchange. Next, the mortgage company provides the money necessary to fund the deal. And ensuring all requirements of the exchange are completed and that a clear title transfers from the seller to the buyer 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 real estate is in line with the purchase price? In comes the appraiser. We provide an unbiased opinion 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.

Inspecting the subject property

To ascertain an accurate status of the property, it's our duty to first perform a thorough inspection. We must actually view aspects of the property, such as the number of bedrooms and bathrooms, the location, and so on, to ensure they really exist and are in the shape a typical person would expect them to be. The inspection often includes a sketch of the property, ensuring the square footage is accurate and illustrating the layout of the property. Most importantly, the appraiser looks for any obvious features - or defects - that would have an impact on the value of the house.

Following the inspection, we use two or three approaches to 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, the cost of labor and other factors to derive how much it would cost to construct a property nearly identical to the one being appraised. This estimate usually sets the maximum on what a property would sell for. It's also the least used predictor of value.

Sales Comparison

Appraisers are intimately familiar with the subdivisions in which they appraise. They innately understand the value of certain features to the homeowners of that area. Then, the appraiser looks up recent transactions in the neighborhood and finds properties which are 'comparable' to the subject at hand. Using knowledge of the value of certain items such as upgraded appliances, extra bathrooms, additional living area, quality of construction, lot size, we add or subtract from each comparable's sales price so that they more accurately portray the features of subject property.

  • If, for example, 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.
  • 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.

A true estimate of what the subject might sell for can only be determined once all differences between the comps and the subject have been evaluated. At MacBride Appraisal, we are experts when it comes to knowing the value of real estate features in Carlsbad and San Diego County neighborhoods. This approach to value is commonly given 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 way of valuing a house. In this situation, the amount of income the real estate generates is taken into consideration along with income produced by similar properties to determine the current value.

Coming Up With The Final Value

Combining information from all approaches, the appraiser is then ready to state an estimated market value for the property at hand. Note: While the appraised value is probably the most accurate indication of what a property is worth, it may not be the price at which the property closes. There are always mitigating factors such as the seller's desire to get out of the property, urgency or 'bidding wars' that may adjust an offer or listing price 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. At the end of the day, an appraiser from MacBride Appraisal will guarantee you get the most fair and balanced property value, so you can make the most informed real estate decisions.