What Goes Into an Appraisal?

Their home's purchase can be the most significant transaction most of us might ever encounter. Whether it's where you raise your family, a seasonal vacation property 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.

Most of the participants are quite familiar. The real estate agent is the most familiar face in the transaction. Then, the bank provides the financial capital needed to bankroll the deal. The title company makes sure that all aspects of the transaction are completed and that a clear title transfers 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, who's responsible for making sure the real estate is worth 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 parcel of real estate, where both buyer and seller are informed parties. A licensed, certified, professional appraiser from Zenith Appraisal Services will ensure, you as an interested party, are informed.

The inspection is where an appraisal starts

Our first responsibility at Zenith Appraisal Services is to inspect the property to ascertain its true status. We must physically view features, such as the number of bedrooms and bathrooms, the location, amenities, etc., to ensure they really are there and are in the condition a typical buyer would expect them to be. To ensure the stated size of the property 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 have an impact on the value of the house.

Following 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.

Replacement Cost

Here, the appraiser uses information on local building costs, labor rates and other factors to ascertain 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 method.

Sales Comparison

Appraisers are intimately familiar with the neighborhoods in which they work. They innately understand the value of particular 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 property being appraised. Using knowledge of the value of certain items such as square footage, extra bathrooms, hardwood floors, fireplaces or view lots (just to name a few), we add or subtract from each comparable's sales price so that they more accurately match the features of subject.

  • For example, if the comparable has an irrigation system and the subject does not, the appraiser may deduct the value of an irrigation system from the sales price of the comparable.
  • However, if the subject property has an extra half-bathroom and the comparable does not, the appraiser might add a certain amount to the comparable property.

Once all necessary adjustments have been made, the appraiser reconciles the adjusted sales prices of all the comps and then derives an opinion of what the subject could sell for. When it comes to knowing the true value of features of homes in Aurora and Arapahoe, Zenith Appraisal Services is second to none. This approach to value is commonly given the most consideration when an appraisal is for a home purchase.

Valuation Using the Income Approach

A third method of valuing a house is sometimes applied when an area has a reasonable number of renter occupied properties. In this case, the amount of income the real estate yields is factored in with income produced by nearby properties to determine the current value.

Coming Up With The Final Value

Analyzing the data from all applicable approaches, the appraiser is then ready to put down an estimated market value for the property at hand. Note: While this amount is probably the best indication of what a property 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 they could recover in case they had to sell the property again. At the end of the day, an appraiser from Zenith Appraisal Services will help you attain the most accurate property value, so you can make wise real estate decisions.