What are the parts of an appraisal?

One's home purchase is the most serious investment some might ever encounter. It doesn't matter if it's where you raise your family, an additional vacation home or one of many rentals, purchasing real property is a detailed financial transaction that requires multiple people working in concert to pull it all off.

To learn more about appraising, click here to see a short video or call us today to talk about your specific property.

Most people are familiar with the parties having a role in the transaction. The most familiar entity in the exchange is the real estate agent. Next, the bank provides the money necessary to fund the deal. Ensuring all requirements of the exchange are completed and that a clear title passes from the seller to the buyer is the title company.

So who's responsible for making sure the value of the property is consistent with the amount being paid?   In comes the appraiser.   We provide an unbiased estimate 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 professional Washington licensed appraiser from BlackFin Appraisal Services will ensure you as an interested party are informed.

The inspection is where an appraisal begins

Our first task at BlackFin Appraisal Services is to inspect the property to ascertain its true status. We must physically see features, such as the number of bedrooms and bathrooms, the location, and so on, to ensure they really 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, the appraiser identifies any obvious features - or defects - that would have an impact on the value of the house.

After the inspection, an appraiser employs two or three approaches when determining the value of the property: a sales comparison, a replacement cost calculation, and an income approach when rental properties are prevalent.

Replacement Cost

This is where the appraiser gathers information on local building costs, the cost of labor and other factors to figure out 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.

Paired Sales Analysis

Appraisers can tell you a lot about the communities in which they appraise. We innately understand the value of particular features to the people of that area. Then, the appraiser looks up recent transactions in close proximity to the subject and finds properties which are 'comparable' to the subject in question. 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 property.

  • For example, if the comparable has a fireplace and the subject doesn't, the appraiser may deduct the value of a fireplace from the sales price of the comparable home.
  • If the subject property has an extra half-bathroom and the comparable does not, the appraiser might add a certain amount to the comparable property.
When it comes to knowing the true value of features of homes in Seattle and King, BlackFin Appraisal Services can't be beat. This approach to value is commonly awarded the most weight when an appraisal is for a home exchange.

Valuation Using the Income Approach

In the case of income producing properties - rental houses for example - the appraiser may use an additional method of valuing a property. In this case, the amount of income the real estate produces is factored in with other rents in the area for comparable properties to determine the current value.

The Bottom Line

Analyzing the data from all approaches, the appraiser is then ready to put down an estimated market value for the property at hand. The estimate of value on the appraisal report is not necessarily the final sales price even though it is likely the best indication of a property's market value 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 often used as a guideline for lenders who don't want to loan a buyer more money than the property would likely sell for in an open marketplace. At the end of the day: An appraiser from BlackFin Appraisal Services will help you attain the most accurate property value, so you can make the most informed real estate decisions.