What Are the Components of an Appraisal?

Their home's purchase is the largest transaction some people will ever make. It doesn't matter if where you raise your family, a seasonal vacation property or one of many rentals, the purchase of real property is a complex financial transaction that requires multiple parties to pull it all off.

Most people are familiar with the parties having a role in the transaction. The real estate agent is the most familiar face in the exchange. Next, the bank provides the financial capital needed to finance the transaction. The title company sees to it that all details of the exchange are completed and that the title is clear to pass from the seller to the purchaser.

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So, who makes sure the value of the real estate is consistent with the amount being paid? 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 OK Appraisals will ensure, you as an interested party, are informed.

Appraisals begin with the home inspection

To ascertain an accurate status of the property, it's our responsibility to first perform a thorough inspection. We must actually view features, such as the number of bedrooms and bathrooms, the location, living areas, etc, to ensure they really are there and are in the shape a reasonable buyer would expect them to be. The inspection often includes a sketch of the property, ensuring the square footage is proper and conveying the layout of the property. Most importantly, we look for any obvious features - or defects - that would have an impact on the value of the property.

Once the site has been inspected, we use two or three approaches to determining the value of real property: paired sales analysis and, in the case of a rental property, an income approach.

Cost Approach

This is where the appraiser analyzes information on local building costs, labor rates and other elements to ascertain how much it would cost to replace the property being appraised. This figure often sets the upper limit on what a property would sell for. It's also the least used method.

Paired Sales Analysis

Appraisers can tell you a lot about the neighborhoods in which they appraise. They thoroughly understand the value of specific features to the residents of that area. Then, the appraiser looks up recent sales in the area and finds properties which are 'comparable' to the real estate being appraised. Using knowledge of the value of 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.

  • For example, if the comparable property has a fireplace and the subject doesn't, the appraiser may deduct the value of a fireplace 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 an amount to the comparable property.

A true estimate of what the subject might sell for can only be determined once all differences between the comps and the subject have been evaluated. At OK Appraisals, we are experts when it comes to knowing the value of particular items in Oklahoma City and Oklahoma County neighborhoods. This approach to value is most often given the most weight when an appraisal is for a home exchange.

Valuation Using the Income Approach

A third method of valuing approach to value is sometimes applied when an area has a reasonable number of rental properties. In this scenario, the amount of revenue the real estate produces is factored in with income produced by similar properties to give an indicator of the current value.

The Bottom Line

Examining the data from all approaches, the appraiser is then ready to document an estimated market value for the property at hand. It is important to note that while the appraised value is probably the best indication of what a property is worth, it probably will not be the final sales price. Prices can always be driven up or down by extenuating circumstances like the motivation or urgency of a seller or 'bidding wars'. Regardless, the appraised value is often used as a guideline for lenders who don't want to loan a buyer more money than they could get back in the event they had to put the property on the market again. At the end of the day, an appraiser from OK Appraisals will help you discover the most fair and balanced property value, so you can make profitable real estate decisions.