An Overview of the Appraisal Process

Acquiring a house is the biggest financial decision many of us may ever consider. It doesn't matter if a primary residence, a second vacation home or a rental fixer upper, the purchase of real property is a detailed financial transaction that requires multiple parties to make it all happen.

It's likely you are familiar with the parties having a role in the transaction. The real estate agent is the most recognizable person in the transaction. Next, the bank provides the financial capital needed to fund the deal. And the title company sees to it that all requirements of the exchange are completed and that a clear title passes 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 property is worth the amount being paid? This is where the appraiser comes in. We provide an unbiased opinion 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 Appraisal Metrics will ensure, you as an interested party, are informed.

Inspecting the subject property

Our first duty at Appraisal Metrics is to inspect the property to ascertain its true status. We must actually see aspects of the property, such as the number of bedrooms and bathrooms, the location, and so on, to ensure they truly exist and are in the condition a typical person would expect them to be. The inspection often includes a sketch of the house, ensuring the square footage is correct and conveying the layout of the property. Most importantly, the appraiser identifies any obvious amenities - 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: a paired sales analysis, a replacement cost calculation, and an income approach when rental properties are prevalent.

Replacement Cost

Here, we pull information on local building costs, the cost of labor and other elements to figure out how much it would cost to construct a property nearly identical to the one being appraised. This estimate commonly sets the upper limit on what a property would sell for. It's also the least used method.

Analyzing Comparable Sales

Appraisers can tell you a lot about the subdivisions in which they work. They thoroughly understand the value of specific features to the homeowners of that area. Then, the appraiser researches recent sales in close proximity to the subject and finds properties which are 'comparable' to the subject 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 adjust the comparable properties so that they are more accurately in line with the features of subject property.

  • Say, for example, 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.
  • If the subject has an extra half-bathroom and the comparable does not, the appraiser might add a certain amount to the comparable property.

An opinion of what the subject could sell for can only be determined once all differences between the comps and the subject have been evaluated. When it comes to knowing the true value of features of homes in Novi and Oakland, Appraisal Metrics is your local authority. This approach to value is typically awarded the most consideration when an appraisal is for a real estate purchase.

Valuation Using the Income Approach

A third way of valuing a house is sometimes used when an area has a reasonable number of renter occupied properties. In this situation, the amount of revenue the property produces is factored in with income produced by comparable properties to determine the current value.

The Bottom Line

Combining information from all approaches, the appraiser is then ready to stipulate an estimated market value for the property in question. It is important to note that while this amount is probably the most reliable indication of what a property is worth, it may not be the price at which the property closes. 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 typically used as a guideline for lenders who don't want to loan a buyer more money than the property is actually worth. Here's what it all boils down to, an appraiser from Appraisal Metrics will guarantee you discover the most accurate property value, so you can make profitable real estate decisions.