What Goes Into an Appraisal?

Getting a house is the most important transaction some people might ever encounter. Whether it's a primary residence, a second vacation property or a rental fixer upper, the purchase of real property is a complex financial transaction that requires multiple parties to pull it all off.

Most of the parties participating are quite familiar. The most known person in the transaction is the real estate agent. Then, the bank provides the money needed to bankroll the exchange. The title company makes sure that all aspects of the transaction are completed and that the title is clear to pass 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, what party makes sure the real estate is worth the amount being paid? In comes the appraiser. We provide an unbiased estimate 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.

Appraisals start with the home inspection

To ascertain the true status of the property, it's our responsibility to first conduct a thorough inspection. We must physically see aspects of the property, such as the number of bedrooms and bathrooms, the location, and so on, to ensure they truly are there and are in the condition a typical person would expect them to be. To make sure the stated square footage has not been misrepresented and illustrate the layout of the home, the inspection often includes creating a sketch of the floorplan. Most importantly, we look for any obvious amenities - or defects - that would affect the value of the property.

After the inspection, an appraiser uses 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

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

Paired Sales Analysis

Appraisers get to know the neighborhoods in which they work. They innately understand the value of certain features to the residents of that area. Then, the appraiser looks up recent sales in close proximity to the subject and finds properties which are 'comparable' to the subject in question. By assigning a dollar value to certain items such as remodeled rooms, types of flooring, energy efficient items, patios and porches, or additional storage space, we adjust the comparable properties so that they are more accurately in line with the features of subject.

  • For example, if the comparable 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.
  • 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.

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 putting a value on features of homes in Aurora and Arapahoe, Zenith Appraisal Services can't be beat. The sales comparison approach to value is commonly given the most importance when an appraisal is for a home sale.

Valuation Using the Income Approach

In the case of income producing properties - rental houses for example - the appraiser may use an additional way of valuing a house. In this situation, the amount of income the real estate produces is factored in with income produced by neighboring properties to determine the current value.

Coming Up With The Final Value

Combining information from all approaches, the appraiser is then ready to document an estimated market value for the subject property. The estimate of value at the bottom of the appraisal report is not always the final sales price even though it is likely the best indication of what a property is worth. 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 often employed as a guideline for lenders who don't want to loan a buyer more money than the property is actually worth. The bottom line is, an appraiser from Zenith Appraisal Services will help you discover the most fair and balanced property value, so you can make wise real estate decisions.