A Description of the Appraisal Process

Acquiring a home is the largest financial decision many people could ever make. Whether it's where you raise your family, a second vacation property or one of many rentals, purchasing real property is a complex financial transaction that requires multiple people working in concert to pull it all off.

Most of the participants are very familiar. The most known entity in the transaction is the real estate agent. Then, the mortgage company provides the financial capital necessary to bankroll the deal. The title company ensures that all areas of the transaction are completed and that a clear title passes 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 consistent 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 property, where both buyer and seller are informed parties. A licensed, certified, professional appraiser from Race Appraisal Services, LLC will ensure, you as an interested party, are informed.

The inspection is where an appraisal begins

To ascertain the true status of the property, it's our responsibility to first complete a thorough inspection. We must see aspects of the property hands on, such as the number of bedrooms and bathrooms, the location, amenities, etc., to ensure they truly are there and are in the shape a reasonable person would expect them to be. To ensure the stated square footage is accurate and document the layout of the home, the inspection often requires creating a sketch of the floorplan. Most importantly, the appraiser identifies any obvious features - or defects - that would affect the value of the property.

Back at the office, we use 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.

Cost Approach

Here, we pull information on local construction costs, the cost of labor and other factors to derive how much it would cost to build a property comparable to the one being appraised. This figure usually sets the upper limit on what a property would sell for. It's also the least used predictor of value.

Sales Comparison

Appraisers become very familiar with the subdivisions in which they work. They innately understand the value of certain features to the residents of that area. Then, the appraiser looks up recent transactions in the area and finds properties which are 'comparable' to the real estate being appraised. 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 more accurately portray the features of subject property.

  • For example, if the comparable property has an extra half bath that the subject does not, the appraiser may deduct the value of that half bath 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.

An opinion of what the subject could sell for can only be determined once all differences between the comps and the subject have been evaluated. At Race Appraisal Services, LLC, we are experts in knowing the value of particular items in East Longmeadow and Hampden County neighborhoods. This approach to value is commonly given the most importance when an appraisal is for a real estate purchase.

Valuation Using the Income Approach

In the case of income producing properties - rental houses for example - the appraiser may use an additional method of valuing real estate. In this scenario, the amount of income the property yields is taken into consideration along with income produced by neighboring properties to determine the current value.

Coming Up With The Final Value

Examining the data from all applicable approaches, the appraiser is then ready to put down 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 property is worth, it probably will not be the final sales price. Depending on the individual 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 employed as a guideline for lenders who don't want to loan a buyer more money than they could recover in case they had to put the property on the market again. The bottom line is, an appraiser from Race Appraisal Services, LLC will help you attain the most fair and balanced property value, so you can make the most informed real estate decisions.

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