What Goes Into an Appraisal?

Their home's purchase is the most significant financial decision many of us could ever encounter. Whether it's a primary residence, an additional vacation home or one of many rentals, purchasing real property is an involved financial transaction that requires multiple people working in concert to pull it all off.

It's likely you are familiar with the parties having a role in the transaction. The real estate agent is the most familiar face in the exchange. Then, the bank provides the money needed to fund the exchange. And the title company sees to it that all requirements of the sale are completed and that a clear title passes 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 real estate is worth the amount being paid? This is where the appraiser comes in. We provide an unbiased estimate 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 Tortorella Appraisals, Inc. will ensure, you as an interested party, are informed.

Appraisals start with the inspection

Our first task at Tortorella Appraisals, Inc. is to inspect the property to ascertain its true status. We must see features hands on, such as the number of bedrooms and bathrooms, the location, living areas, etc, to ensure they really are present and are in the shape a typical person would expect them to be. To ensure the stated size of the property has not been misrepresented and illustrate the layout of the home, the inspection often requires creating a sketch of the floorplan. Most importantly, the appraiser looks for any obvious features - or defects - that would affect the value of the house.

After the inspection, we use two or three approaches to determining the value of the property: a paired sales analysis, a replacement cost calculation, and an income approach when rental properties are prevalent.

Replacement Cost

Here, the appraiser uses information on local construction costs, the cost of labor and other elements to calculate how much it would cost to replace the property being appraised. This figure commonly sets the upper limit on what a property would sell for. The cost approach is also the least used predictor of value.

Sales Comparison

Appraisers can tell you a lot about the communities in which they appraise. They innately understand the value of particular features to the people of that area. Then, the appraiser researches recent sales in close proximity to the subject and finds properties which are 'comparable' to the real estate 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 more accurately match the features of subject property.

  • If, for example, the comparable property 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.
  • 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.

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. When it comes to valuing features of homes in Kingston and Saratoga, Tortorella Appraisals, Inc. can't be beat. 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 way of valuing a house. In this case, the amount of income the real estate generates is factored in with other rents in the area for comparable properties to determine the current value.

Putting It All Together

Analyzing the data from all applicable 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 house is worth, it probably will not be the price at which the property closes. 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 typically 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 Tortorella Appraisals, Inc. will guarantee you get the most accurate property value, so you can make the most informed real estate decisions.