Making Sense of the Appraisal ProcessAcquiring real estate can be the most important investment most of us will ever make. Whether it's where you raise your family, an additional vacation home or an investment, purchasing real property is a complex financial transaction that requires multiple parties to make it all happen.
Practically all the participants are quite familiar. The real estate agent is the most known face in the exchange. Then, the mortgage company provides the financial capital needed to finance the exchange. The title company makes sure that all areas of the sale are completed and that a clear title transfers to the buyer from the seller.
So who makes sure the property is consistent with the amount being paid? In comes the appraiser. 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 professional South Carolina licensed appraiser from Palmetto Appraisals of the Low Country will ensure you as an interested party are informed.
Appraisals start with the home inspectionTo ascertain an accurate status of the property, it's our responsibility to first complete a thorough inspection. We must see features first hand, 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. The inspection often includes a sketch of the property, ensuring the square footage is correct and conveying the layout of the property. Most importantly, we look for any obvious amenities - or defects - that would affect the value of the property.
Back at the office, an appraiser employs two or three approaches when determining the value of real property: sales comparison and, in the case of a rental property, an income approach.
Replacement CostHere, we analyze information on local construction costs, labor rates and other factors to calculate how much it would cost to replace the property being appraised. This estimate usually sets the maximum on what a property would sell for. It's also the least used predictor of value.
Paired Sales AnalysisAppraisers can tell you a lot about the neighborhoods in which they work. We thoroughly understand the value of certain features to the residents of that area. Then, the appraiser researches recent transactions in the neighborhood and finds properties which are 'comparable' to the home being appraised. Using knowledge of the value of certain items such as fireplaces, room layout, appliance upgrades, additional bathrooms or bedrooms, or quality of construction, we adjust the comparable properties so that they are more accurately in line with the features of subject property.
Valuation Using the Income ApproachA third way of valuing a property is sometimes used when a neighborhood has a reasonable number of rental properties. In this case, the amount of income the real estate generates is factored in with income produced by comparable properties to determine the current value.
Putting It All TogetherExamining the data from all applicable approaches, the appraiser is then ready to stipulate an estimated market value for the property at hand. It is important to note that while this amount is probably the strongest indication of what a property is worth, it probably will not be the price at which the property closes. There are always mitigating factors such as seller motivation, urgency or 'bidding wars' that may adjust an offer or listing 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 the property is actually worth. The bottom line is: An appraiser from Palmetto Appraisals of the Low Country will help you attain the most fair and balanced property value, so you can make wise real estate decisions.