Comprehending Appraisals

Their home's purchase can be the biggest financial decision many may ever consider. It doesn't matter if a main residence, a second vacation property or one of many rentals, purchasing real property is a detailed financial transaction that requires multiple people working in concert to make it all happen.

It's likely you are familiar with the parties taking part in the transaction. The most recognizable face in the transaction is the real estate agent. Next, the lender provides the money needed to fund the transaction. The title company makes sure that all details of the sale are completed and that a clear title transfers from the seller to the purchaser.

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 property is worth the amount being paid? 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 parcel of real estate, where both buyer and seller are informed parties. A licensed, certified, professional appraiser from Ramstar Appraisal will ensure, you as an interested party, are informed.

The inspection is where an appraisal starts

Our first responsibility at Ramstar Appraisal is to inspect the property to determine its true status. We must see features hands on, such as the number of bedrooms and bathrooms, the location, living areas, etc, to ensure they indeed exist and are in the shape a typical person would expect them to be. The inspection often includes a sketch of the house, ensuring the square footage is correct and illustrating the layout of the property. Most importantly, the appraiser looks for any obvious amenities - or defects - that would have an impact on the value of the property.

Next, after 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.

Cost Approach

Here, the appraiser analyzes information on local building costs, labor rates and other elements to determine how much it would cost to construct a property similar to the one 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 become very familiar with the subdivisions in which they appraise. They thoroughly understand the value of certain 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 property at hand. Using knowledge of the value of certain items such as remodeled rooms, types of flooring, energy efficient items, patios and porches, or additional storage space, we adjust the comparable properties so that they are more accurately in line with the features of subject.

  • For example, if the comparable has a storm shelter and the subject does not, the appraiser may subtract the value of a storm shelter from the sales price of the comparable.
  • But, 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.

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. At Ramstar Appraisal, we are an authority when it comes to knowing the worth of particular items in Costa Mesa and Orange County neighborhoods. This approach to value is typically given the most weight when an appraisal is for a home purchase.

Valuation Using the Income Approach

A third way of valuing a property is sometimes used when an area has a reasonable number of rental properties. In this scenario, the amount of income the real estate yields is factored in with income produced by neighboring properties to give an indicator of the current value.

Putting It All Together

Examining the data from all approaches, the appraiser is then ready to state an estimated market value for the property at hand. Note: While the appraised value is probably the most accurate indication of what a house is worth, it may not be the final sales price. Depending on the individual situations of the buyer or seller, their level of urgency or a buyer's desire for that exact property, the closing price of a home can always be driven 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 the property is actually worth. At the end of the day, an appraiser from Ramstar Appraisal will guarantee you discover the most accurate property value, so you can make profitable real estate decisions.