An Overview of the Appraisal Process

Getting real estate can be the largest investment some of us could ever encounter. It doesn't matter if a primary residence, a second vacation home or an investment, the purchase of real property is an involved financial transaction that requires multiple people working in concert to make it all happen.

Practically all the participants are very familiar. The most familiar face in the transaction is the real estate agent. Next, the bank provides the financial capital required to bankroll the transaction. And the title company sees to it that all requirements of the sale are completed and that a clear title passes from the seller to the buyer.

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

So, who's responsible for making sure the property is worth 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 property, where both buyer and seller are informed parties. A licensed, certified, professional appraiser from MacBride Appraisal will ensure, you as an interested party, are informed.

Inspecting the subject property

Our first duty at MacBride Appraisal 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 indeed exist and are in the shape a reasonable person would expect them to be. To make sure the stated size of the property has not been misrepresented and illustrate the layout of the house, the inspection often includes creating a sketch of the floorplan. Most importantly, the appraiser identifies any obvious amenities - or defects - that would have an impact on the value of the property.

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

Replacement Cost

Here, the appraiser analyzes information on local building costs, the cost of labor and other factors to calculate how much it would cost to construct a property comparable to the one being appraised. This estimate commonly sets the upper limit on what a property would sell for. It's also the least used predictor of value.

Analyzing Comparable Sales

Appraisers are intimately familiar with the neighborhoods in which they work. They innately understand the value of certain features to the people of that area. Then, the appraiser looks up recent transactions in the neighborhood and finds properties which are 'comparable' to the real estate at hand. By assigning a dollar value to certain items such as square footage, additional bathrooms, hardwood floors, fireplaces or view lots (just to name a few), we add or subtract from each comparable's sales price so that they more accurately portray the features of subject.

  • Say, for example, the comparable has an irrigation system and the subject does not, the appraiser may subtract the value of an irrigation system from the sales price of the comparable.
  • In the case where the subject has something such as an extra half bath that a comparable doesn't have, the appraiser might add the value of that bath to the comparable property.

An opinion of what the subject could sell for can only be determined once all differences between the comps and the subject have been evaluated. When it comes to putting a value on features of homes in Carlsbad and San Diego, MacBride Appraisal is second to none. This approach to value is commonly awarded the most importance when an appraisal is for a home exchange.

Valuation Using the Income Approach

In the case of income producing properties - rental houses for example - we may use a third method of valuing real estate. In this scenario, the amount of revenue the real estate produces is taken into consideration along with other rents in the area for comparable properties to give an indicator of the current value.

Reconciliation

Analyzing the data from all applicable approaches, the appraiser is then ready to state an estimated market value for the subject property. Note: While this amount is probably the most accurate indication of what a house is worth, it may not be the final sales price. There are always mitigating factors such as seller motivation, urgency or 'bidding wars' that may adjust the final 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. At the end of the day, an appraiser from MacBride Appraisal will guarantee you get the most fair and balanced property value, so you can make the most informed real estate decisions.