Real Estate Appraisals: A Primer

Purchasing a house can be the most important transaction some may ever encounter. It doesn't matter if a main residence, a seasonal vacation home or a rental fixer upper, the purchase of real property is an involved transaction that requires multiple people working in concert to see it through.

Most of the participants are very familiar. The most recognizable entity in the transaction is the real estate agent. Then, the mortgage company provides the money necessary to bankroll the deal. The title company makes sure that all requirements of the transaction are completed and that the title is clear to pass from the seller to the buyer.

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 amount being paid? 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 Casa Grande Appraisal Service will ensure, you as an interested party, are informed.

The inspection is where an appraisal starts

Our first duty at Casa Grande Appraisal Service is to inspect the property to determine its true status. We must actually see aspects of the property, such as the number of bedrooms and bathrooms, the location, amenities, etc., to ensure they really are present and are in the condition a reasonable buyer would expect them to be. To ensure the stated square footage has not been misrepresented and describe the layout of the home, the inspection often includes creating a sketch of the floorplan. Most importantly, we identify any obvious features - or defects - that would affect the value of the house.

After the inspection, an appraiser uses 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, the appraiser pulls information on local building costs, labor rates and other elements to determine how much it would cost to construct a property comparable to the one being appraised. This figure commonly sets the maximum on what a property would sell for. It's also the least used method.

Analyzing Comparable Sales

Appraisers are intimately familiar with the communities in which they appraise. They thoroughly understand the value of specific 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 being appraised. By assigning a dollar value to certain items such as remodeled rooms, types of flooring, energy efficient items, patios and porches, or additional storage space, we adjust the comparable properties so that they more accurately portray the features of subject.

  • If, for example, the comparable has a fireplace and the subject doesn't, the appraiser may subtract the value of a fireplace from the sales price of the comparable.
  • But, 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.

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 Casa Grande Appraisal Service, we are experts when it comes to knowing the value of real estate features in Casa Grande and Maricopa County neighborhoods. The sales comparison approach to value is usually given the most consideration when an appraisal is for a real estate purchase.

Valuation Using the Income Approach

A third method of valuing a property is sometimes employed when a neighborhood has a reasonable number of renter occupied properties. In this situation, the amount of revenue the property yields is factored in with other rents in the area for comparable properties to derive the current value.

Coming Up With The Final Value

Combining information from all applicable approaches, the appraiser is then ready to state an estimated market value for the subject property. It is important to note that while this amount is probably the strongest indication of what a property is worth, it may not be the final sales price. Depending on the specific situations 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 typically used as a guideline for lenders who don't want to loan a buyer more money than the property is actually worth. It all comes down to this, an appraiser from Casa Grande Appraisal Service will guarantee you attain the most fair and balanced property value, so you can make wise real estate decisions.