Understanding Appraisals

Getting a home can be the most important investment most people might ever encounter. It doesn't matter if a main residence, a seasonal vacation property or one of many rentals, purchasing real property is a detailed financial transaction that requires multiple parties to pull it all off.

The majority of the people participating are very familiar. The most recognizable entity in the exchange is the real estate agent. Next, the bank provides the financial capital needed to fund the deal. The title company sees to it that all aspects of the transaction are completed and that a clear title passes from the seller to the purchaser.

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 real estate is worth the amount being paid? This is where you meet the appraiser. We provide an unbiased opinion 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 Race Appraisal Services, LLC will ensure, you as an interested party, are informed.

Inspecting the subject property

Our first duty at Race Appraisal Services, LLC is to inspect the property to determine its true status. We must actually see features, 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 reasonable buyer would expect them to be. To ensure the stated square footage has not been misrepresented and convey the layout of the house, 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, we use two or three approaches to determining the value of real property: sales comparison and, in the case of a rental property, an income approach.

Cost Approach

Here, we gather information on local building costs, labor rates and other elements to ascertain how much it would cost to build a property similar to the one being appraised. This value often sets the maximum on what a property would sell for. The cost approach is also the least used method.

Paired Sales Analysis

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 the neighborhood and finds properties which are 'comparable' to the property being appraised. By assigning a dollar value to certain items such as remodeled rooms, types of flooring, energy efficient items, patios and porches, or extra storage space, we adjust the comparable properties so that they are more accurately in line with the features of subject property.

  • Say, for example, the comparable property has a storm shelter and the subject does not, the appraiser may deduct the value of a storm shelter 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.

After all differences have been accounted for, the appraiser reconciles the adjusted sales prices of all the comps and then derives an opinion of what the subject could sell for. At Race Appraisal Services, LLC, we are experts when it comes to knowing the worth of real estate features in East Longmeadow and Hampden County neighborhoods. This approach to value is usually 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 approach to value. In this scenario, the amount of revenue the property yields is factored in with other rents in the area for comparable properties to give an indicator of the current value.

The Bottom Line

Combining information from all approaches, the appraiser is then ready to state an estimated market value for the subject property. Note: While the appraised value is probably the most reliable indication of what a property is worth, it probably will not be the final sales price. 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 often used as a guideline for lenders who don't want to loan a buyer more money than the property is actually worth. Here's what it all boils down to, an appraiser from Race Appraisal Services, LLC will guarantee you attain the most fair and balanced property value, so you can make wise real estate decisions.

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