What Goes Into an Appraisal?

Buying a home can be the biggest investment many people will ever make. It doesn't matter if where you raise your family, an additional vacation home or one of many rentals, the purchase of real property is a complex financial transaction that requires multiple parties to pull it all off.

Most of the participants are quite familiar. The most known person in the exchange is the real estate agent. Next, the mortgage company provides the financial capital needed to bankroll the transaction. And the title company ensures that all details of the transaction are completed and that a clear title passes to the buyer from the seller.

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

So, who makes sure the real estate is worth the purchase price? This is where you meet the appraiser. We provide an unbiased opinion 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.

Inspecting the subject property

To determine an accurate status of the property, it's our responsibility to first complete a thorough inspection. We must physically see features, such as the number of bedrooms and bathrooms, the location, living areas, etc, to ensure they truly are present and are in the shape a typical buyer would expect them to be. The inspection often includes a sketch of the property, ensuring the square footage is proper and illustrating the layout of the property. Most importantly, the appraiser looks for any obvious amenities - or defects - that would affect the value of the house.

Back at the office, 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.

Replacement Cost

This is where the appraiser pulls information on local building costs, labor rates and other elements to figure out how much it would cost to build a property nearly identical to the one being appraised. This value usually sets the maximum on what a property would sell for. It's also the least used predictor of value.

Sales Comparison

Appraisers become very familiar with the neighborhoods in which they appraise. They thoroughly understand the value of specific features to the homeowners of that area. Then, the appraiser looks up recent transactions in close proximity to the subject and finds properties which are 'comparable' to the real estate in question. 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.

  • For example, if the comparable property has an extra half bath that the subject does not, the appraiser may subtract 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 a certain amount to the comparable property.

A valid estimate of what the subject might sell for can only be determined once all differences between the comps and the subject have been evaluated. When it comes to associating a value with features of homes in Los Angeles and Los Angeles, Bowers Real Estate & Appraisal Services can't be beat. This approach to value is typically awarded the most weight when an appraisal is for a real estate sale.

Valuation Using the Income Approach

In the case of income producing properties - rental houses for example - the appraiser may use an additional way of valuing real estate. In this situation, the amount of income the property yields is factored in with income produced by nearby properties to derive the current value.

Coming Up With The Final Value

Analyzing the data from all applicable approaches, the appraiser is then ready to state an estimated market value for the property at hand. The estimate of value at the bottom of the appraisal report is not always what's being paid for the property even though it is likely the best indication of what a property is worth. 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. But the appraised value is typically employed as a guideline for lenders who don't want to loan a buyer more money than the property is actually worth. At the end of the day, an appraiser from Bowers Real Estate & Appraisal Services will guarantee you discover the most accurate property value, so you can make the most informed real estate decisions.