Understanding the Appraisal Process

Their home's purchase is the most significant transaction many could ever consider. It doesn't matter if a main residence, an additional vacation property or an investment, purchasing real property is a complex transaction that requires multiple parties to make it all happen.

Most of the participants are quite familiar. The real estate agent is the most familiar person in the transaction. Next, the bank provides the money needed to finance the exchange. The title company makes sure that all requirements of the sale are completed and that a clear title transfers 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, what party is responsible for making sure the value of the real estate is consistent with the purchase price? 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 parcel of real estate, where both buyer and seller are informed parties. A licensed, certified, professional appraiser from Steven W Backer, Appraiser/Consultant will ensure, you as an interested party, are informed.

Inspecting the subject property

Our first duty at Steven W Backer, Appraiser/Consultant is to inspect the property to ascertain its true status. We must physically see aspects of the property, such as the number of bedrooms and bathrooms, the location, amenities, etc., to ensure they indeed 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 proper and conveying the layout of the property. Most importantly, we look for any obvious features - or defects - that would have an impact on the value of the house.

Back at the office, we use two or three approaches to determining the value of real property: paired sales analysis and, in the case of a rental property, an income approach.

Cost Approach

Here, we gather information on local construction costs, the cost of labor and other elements to derive how much it would cost to replace the property being appraised. This value often sets the upper limit 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. 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 property at hand. Using knowledge of the value of certain items such as upgraded appliances, extra bathrooms, additional living area, quality of construction, lot size, we add or subtract from each comparable's sales price so that they more accurately match the features of subject.

  • Say, for example, the comparable property has a fireplace and the subject does not, the appraiser may subtract the value of a fireplace from the sales price of the comparable home.
  • 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 might sell for can only be determined once all differences between the comps and the subject have been evaluated. At Steven W Backer, Appraiser/Consultant, we are an authority when it comes to knowing the worth of real estate features in Somers and Flathead County neighborhoods. The sales comparison approach to value is typically awarded the most weight when an appraisal is for a home sale.

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 house. In this situation, the amount of income the real estate generates is taken into consideration along with other rents in the area for comparable properties to derive the current value.

Coming Up With The Final Value

Examining the data from all applicable approaches, the appraiser is then ready to stipulate an estimated market value for the property at hand. The estimate of value at the bottom of the appraisal report is not necessarily the final sales price even though it is likely the best indication of a property's valueIt's not uncommon for prices to 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 employed as a guideline for lenders who don't want to loan a buyer more money than they could get back in the event they had to sell the property again. At the end of the day, an appraiser from Steven W Backer, Appraiser/Consultant will guarantee you discover the most fair and balanced property value, so you can make the most informed real estate decisions.