Understanding the Appraisal Process

Getting real estate is the largest transaction many people will ever consider. It doesn't matter if where you raise your family, a second vacation home or a rental fixer upper, purchasing real property is an involved transaction that requires multiple people working in concert to pull it all off.

Most people are familiar with the parties taking part in the transaction. The most recognizable face in the transaction is the real estate agent. Then, the mortgage company provides the financial capital necessary to finance the deal. And ensuring all aspects of the exchange are completed and that the title is clear to transfer 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, who makes 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 might 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 Tortorella Appraisals, Inc. will ensure, you as an interested party, are informed.

Inspecting the subject property

Our first task at Tortorella Appraisals, Inc. is to inspect the property to ascertain its true status. We must physically see aspects of the property, such as the number of bedrooms and bathrooms, the location, and so on, to ensure they indeed exist and are in the shape a typical person would expect them to be. To make sure the stated square footage is accurate and illustrate the layout of the property, the inspection often includes creating a sketch of the floorplan. Most importantly, the appraiser looks for any obvious features - or defects - that would have an impact on the value of the house.

Back at the office, an appraiser uses 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 pulls information on local construction costs, labor rates and other elements to determine how much it would cost to build a property similar to the one being appraised. This value commonly sets the upper limit on what a property would sell for. The cost approach is also the least used predictor of value.

Analyzing Comparable Sales

Appraisers can tell you a lot about the neighborhoods in which they appraise. They thoroughly understand the value of specific features to the residents of that area. Then, the appraiser looks up recent sales in the area and finds properties which are 'comparable' to the home at hand. Using knowledge of the value of certain items such as upgraded appliances, additional bathrooms, additional living area, quality of construction, lot size, we adjust the comparable properties so that they more accurately match the features of subject property.

  • For example, if the comparable has a fireplace and the subject does not, the appraiser may deduct the value of a fireplace from the sales price of the comparable home.
  • However, 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 valid 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 Ulster, Tortorella Appraisals, Inc. can't be beat. This approach to value is usually awarded the most weight when an appraisal is for a real estate exchange.

Valuation Using the Income Approach

A third method of valuing approach to value is sometimes applied when a neighborhood has a measurable number of renter occupied properties. In this situation, the amount of revenue the property produces is taken into consideration along with other rents in the area for comparable properties to give an indicator of the current value.

The Bottom Line

Analyzing the data from all applicable approaches, the appraiser is then ready to put down an estimated market value for the property in question. It is important to note that while the appraised value is probably the strongest indication of what a property is worth, it probably will not be the price at which the property closes. There are always mitigating factors such as seller motivation, urgency or 'bidding wars' that may adjust the final price up or down. Regardless, the appraised value is often employed as a guideline for lenders who don't want to loan a buyer more money than they could get back in case they had to sell the property again. The bottom line is, an appraiser from Tortorella Appraisals, Inc. will help you attain the most fair and balanced property value, so you can make wise real estate decisions.