What Is an Appraisal?

A home purchase is the most important financial decision many of us could ever consider. Whether it's where you raise your family, an additional vacation home or a rental fixer upper, purchasing real property is a detailed financial transaction that requires multiple people working in concert to see it through.

It's likely you are familiar with the parties taking part in the transaction. The most known entity in the exchange is the real estate agent. Then, the bank provides the money needed to bankroll the transaction. And ensuring all requirements of the sale are completed and that the title is clear to transfer from the seller to the purchaser is the title company.

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 makes sure the value of the property is in line with 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 property, where both buyer and seller are informed parties. A licensed, certified, professional appraiser from Campbell and Cress Appraisal Service, LLC will ensure, you as an interested party, are informed.

The inspection is where an appraisal starts

Our first responsibility at Campbell and Cress Appraisal Service, LLC is to inspect the property to ascertain its true status. We must see aspects of the property first hand, such as the number of bedrooms and bathrooms, the location, living areas, etc, to ensure they truly are there and are in the shape a reasonable buyer would expect them to be. The inspection often includes a sketch of the house, ensuring the square footage is accurate and illustrating 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 property.

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

Cost Approach

Here, the appraiser pulls information on local construction costs, the cost of labor and other factors to calculate how much it would cost to replace the property being appraised. This value often sets the maximum on what a property would sell for. The cost approach is also the least used method.

Analyzing Comparable Sales

Appraisers get to know the subdivisions in which they appraise. They thoroughly understand the value of certain features to the homeowners of that area. Then, the appraiser researches recent sales in close proximity to the subject and finds properties which are 'comparable' to the subject 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 add or subtract from each comparable's sales price so that they more accurately portray the features of subject property.

  • Say, for example, the comparable has an extra half bath that the subject doesn't, the appraiser may deduct the value of that half bath from the sales price of the comparable.
  • If the subject property has an extra half-bathroom and the comparable does not, the appraiser might add an amount 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 Campbell and Cress Appraisal Service, LLC, we are an authority when it comes to knowing the worth of particular items in Statesville and Iredell County neighborhoods. This approach to value is typically awarded the most weight 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 produces is taken into consideration along with other rents in the area for comparable properties to determine the current value.

Reconciliation

Combining information from all applicable approaches, the appraiser is then ready to document an estimated market value for the property in question. 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. Regardless, the appraised value is typically used as a guideline for lenders who don't want to loan a buyer more money than they could recover in case they had to put the property on the market again. The bottom line is, an appraiser from Campbell and Cress Appraisal Service, LLC will help you get the most fair and balanced property value, so you can make wise real estate decisions.