What Goes Into an Appraisal?

A home purchase can be the most serious financial decision some people could ever make. It doesn't matter if a main residence, a second vacation property or an investment, purchasing real property is an involved financial transaction that requires multiple parties to pull it all off.

Practically all the participants are very familiar. The most familiar person in the transaction is the real estate agent. Next, the bank provides the money required to finance the transaction. The title company ensures that all aspects of the transaction are completed and that a clear title transfers to the buyer from the seller.

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So, who's responsible for making 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 might expect to pay — or a seller receive — for a property, where both buyer and seller are informed parties. A licensed, certified, professional appraiser from Crescent Appraisal Group, Inc. will ensure, you as an interested party, are informed.

Inspecting the subject property

Our first responsibility at Crescent Appraisal Group, Inc. is to inspect the property to determine its true status. We must see features first hand, such as the number of bedrooms and bathrooms, the location, amenities, 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 floorplan, ensuring the square footage is correct and illustrating the layout of the property. Most importantly, the appraiser looks for any obvious amenities - or defects - that would have an impact on the value of the house.

Next, after the inspection, we use two or three approaches to determining the value of real property: a sales comparison, a replacement cost calculation, and an income approach when rental properties are prevalent.

Replacement Cost

This is where we gather information on local building costs, the cost of labor and other elements to calculate how much it would cost to construct a property similar to the one being appraised. This estimate commonly sets the maximum 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 subdivisions in which they work. They thoroughly understand the value of particular features to the homeowners of that area. Then, the appraiser looks up recent sales in the neighborhood and finds properties which are 'comparable' to the subject at hand. Using knowledge of the value of certain items such as square footage, additional 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 are more accurately in line with the features of subject.

  • Say, for example, the comparable has a storm shelter and the subject doesn't, the appraiser may subtract 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.

In the end, the appraiser reconciles the adjusted sales prices of all the comps and then derives an opinion of what the subject could sell for. At Crescent Appraisal Group, Inc., we are an authority in knowing the value of particular items in Metairie and Jefferson County neighborhoods. This approach to value is usually awarded the most consideration when an appraisal is for a real estate purchase.

Valuation Using the Income Approach

A third method of valuing a property is sometimes employed when an area has a reasonable number of renter occupied properties. In this case, the amount of revenue the real estate yields is taken into consideration along with income produced by nearby properties to give an indicator of the current value.

Arriving at a Value Conclusion

Combining information from all approaches, the appraiser is then ready to stipulate an estimated market value for the property in question. The estimate of value on the appraisal report is not necessarily what's being paid for the property even though it is likely the best indication of a property's valueDepending 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 employed 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. It all comes down to this, an appraiser from Crescent Appraisal Group, Inc. will help you get the most accurate property value, so you can make wise real estate decisions.