What Goes Into an Appraisal?

Purchasing real estate can be the most significant financial decision many might ever make. Whether it's a primary residence, a second vacation home or an investment, purchasing real property is an involved financial transaction that requires multiple parties to see it through.

Most of the people participating are quite familiar. The real estate agent is the most recognizable entity in the transaction. Next, the lender provides the financial capital necessary to finance the deal. And ensuring all details of the transaction are completed and that a clear title transfers from the seller to the purchaser is the title company.

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So, what party makes sure the value of the property is consistent with the amount being paid? This is where the appraiser comes in. We provide an unbiased estimate 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 TNC Appraisal Service, Inc. will ensure, you as an interested party, are informed.

Appraisals start with the inspection

To ascertain the true status of the property, it's our duty to first perform a thorough inspection. We must physically view features, such as the number of bedrooms and bathrooms, the location, living areas, etc, to ensure they truly exist and are in the condition a reasonable person would expect them to be. To ensure the stated size of the property is accurate and illustrate the layout of the house, the inspection often requires 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 property.

Following the inspection, an appraiser uses two or three approaches to determining the value of the property: a paired sales analysis, a replacement cost calculation, and an income approach when rental properties are prevalent.

Cost Approach

This is where we use information on local construction costs, the cost of labor and other elements to ascertain how much it would cost to replace the property being appraised. This value usually sets the maximum on what a property would sell for. It's also the least used predictor of value.

Sales Comparison

Appraisers get to know the neighborhoods in which they appraise. They innately understand the value of specific features to the people of that area. Then, the appraiser researches recent transactions in close proximity to the subject and finds properties which are 'comparable' to the real estate at hand. By assigning a dollar value to certain items such as square footage, additional bathrooms, hardwood floors, fireplaces or view lots (just to name a few), we adjust the comparable properties so that they are more accurately in line with the features of subject.

  • If, for example, the comparable property has an extra half bath that the subject does not, the appraiser may subtract 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.

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 TNC Appraisal Service, Inc., we are an authority in knowing the value of particular items in Manahawkin and Ocean County neighborhoods. This approach to value is commonly given the most weight when an appraisal is for a real estate sale.

Valuation Using the Income Approach

A third way of valuing a house is sometimes employed when an area has a reasonable number of rental properties. In this scenario, the amount of revenue the real estate generates is factored in with income produced by comparable properties to determine the current value.

The Bottom Line

Analyzing the data from all applicable approaches, the appraiser is then ready to stipulate an estimated market value for the property in question. 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. There are always mitigating factors such as the seller's desire to get out of the property, urgency or 'bidding wars' that may adjust the final price up or down. But 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 TNC Appraisal Service, Inc. will help you attain the most fair and balanced property value, so you can make the most informed real estate decisions.