Making Sense of the Appraisal Process

Their home's purchase can be the most serious investment many might ever encounter. It doesn't matter if where you raise your family, a second vacation home or a rental fixer upper, purchasing real property is an involved transaction that requires multiple people working in concert to pull it all off.

You're likely to be familiar with the parties having a role in the transaction. The real estate agent is the most recognizable entity in the exchange. Next, the mortgage company provides the financial capital necessary to finance the deal. And ensuring all aspects of the exchange are completed and that the title is clear to pass to the buyer from the seller is the title company.

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So, who makes sure the real estate 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 JMS Appraisal will ensure, you as an interested party, are informed.

Appraisals start with the home inspection

Our first task at JMS Appraisal is to inspect the property to ascertain its true status. We must actually 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 person 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 entails creating a sketch of the floorplan. Most importantly, we identify 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, the appraiser uses information on local building costs, labor rates and other elements to derive how much it would cost to replace the property being appraised. This estimate usually sets the upper limit on what a property would sell for. It's also the least used method.

Sales Comparison

Appraisers become very familiar with the subdivisions in which they work. They thoroughly understand the value of particular features to the residents of that area. Then, the appraiser looks up recent sales in the neighborhood and finds properties which are 'comparable' to the property in question. By assigning a dollar value to certain items such as upgraded appliances, extra bathrooms, additional living area, quality of construction, lot size, we adjust the comparable properties so that they more accurately match the features of subject property.

  • For example, if the comparable property has a storm shelter and the subject does not, the appraiser may deduct the value of a storm shelter from the sales price of the comparable home.
  • However, if the subject has an extra half-bathroom and the comparable does not, the appraiser might add a certain amount to the comparable property.

After all differences have been accounted for, 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 knowing the true worth of features of homes in Aliso Viejo and Orange, JMS Appraisal can't be beat. The sales comparison approach to value is typically awarded the most consideration when an appraisal is for a home purchase.

Valuation Using the Income Approach

In the case of income producing properties - rental houses for example - the appraiser may use an additional approach to value. In this case, the amount of revenue the property yields is taken into consideration along with other rents in the area for comparable properties to determine the current value.

Coming Up With The Final Value

Examining the data from all approaches, the appraiser is then ready to put down an estimated market value for the property in question. Note: While this amount 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 employed as a guideline for lenders who don't want to loan a buyer more money than the property is actually worth. Here's what it all boils down to, an appraiser from JMS Appraisal will guarantee you discover the most accurate property value, so you can make wise real estate decisions.