Understanding Appraisals

A home purchase can be the biggest financial decision many will ever make. It doesn't matter if where you raise your family, a second vacation home or an investment, purchasing real property is an involved transaction that requires multiple parties to see it through.

Practically all the parties participating are very familiar. The real estate agent is the most recognizable face in the exchange. Then, the lender provides the money required to finance the transaction. The title company makes sure that all details of the transaction are completed and that the title is clear to transfer from the seller to the buyer.

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So, who's responsible for making sure the value of the real estate is in line with the amount being paid? This is where you meet 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 licensed, certified, professional appraiser from Bowers Real Estate & Appraisal Services will ensure, you as an interested party, are informed.

Appraisals begin with the property inspection

Our first responsibility at Bowers Real Estate & Appraisal Services 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 truly are present and are in the shape a reasonable buyer would expect them to be. To ensure the stated size of the property is accurate and describe the layout of the home, the inspection often includes creating a sketch of the floorplan. Most importantly, the appraiser looks for any obvious amenities - or defects - that would have an impact on the value of the house.

After the inspection, we use two or three approaches to determining the value of the property: sales comparison and, in the case of a rental property, an income approach.

Cost Approach

This is where the appraiser uses information on local construction costs, the cost of labor and other factors to figure out 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 work. They thoroughly understand the value of specific features to the residents of that area. Then, the appraiser researches recent sales in close proximity to the subject and finds properties which are 'comparable' to the real estate at hand. Using knowledge of the value of certain items such as upgraded appliances, additional bathrooms, additional living area, quality of construction, lot size, we adjust the comparable properties so that they are more accurately in line with the features of subject.

  • Say, for example, the comparable has an extra half bath that the subject doesn't, the appraiser may deduct the value of that half bath from the sales price of the comparable home.
  • 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.

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. When it comes to associating a value with features of homes in Los Angeles and Los Angeles, Bowers Real Estate & Appraisal Services is your local authority. The sales comparison approach to value is most often given the most importance when an appraisal is for a home exchange.

Valuation Using the Income Approach

A third way of valuing approach to value is sometimes applied when an area has a measurable number of renter occupied properties. In this scenario, the amount of income the property produces is factored in with income produced by comparable properties to give an indicator of the current value.

Arriving at a Value Conclusion

Examining the data from all applicable approaches, the appraiser is then ready to put down an estimated market value for the property at hand. It is important to note that while the appraised value is probably the most reliable 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 the seller's desire to get out of the property, urgency or 'bidding wars' that may adjust an offer or listing price up or down. 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 recover in the event they had to put the property on the market again. At the end of the day, an appraiser from Bowers Real Estate & Appraisal Services will guarantee you discover the most fair and balanced property value, so you can make profitable real estate decisions.