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What is an appraisal?

Acquiring a home is the most serious transaction some of us may ever encounter. Whether it's where you raise your family, a seasonal vacation home or one of many rentals, the purchase of real property is a detailed financial transaction that requires multiple people working in concert to pull it all off.

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

Most people are familiar with the parties having a role in the transaction. The most recognizable face in the exchange is the real estate agent. Next, the mortgage company provides the financial capital necessary to fund the transaction. Ensuring all requirements of the transaction are completed and that a clear title passes to the buyer from the seller is the title company.

So what party is responsible for making sure 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 could expect to pay - or a seller receive - for a property, where both buyer and seller are informed parties. A professional North Carolina licensed appraiser from Parkway Appraisals will ensure you as an interested party are informed.

The inspection is where an appraisal starts

To ascertain an accurate status of the property, it's our responsibility to first perform a thorough inspection. We must actually see features, such as the number of bedrooms and bathrooms, the location, living areas, etc., to ensure they really exist and are in the shape a reasonable buyer would expect them to be. To ensure the stated size of the property is accurate and document the layout of the property, the inspection often includes creating a sketch of the floor plan. Most importantly, the appraiser identifies any obvious amenities - or defects - that would affect the value of the property.

After the inspection, we use two or three approaches when determining the value of the property: paired sales analysis and, in the case of a rental property, an income approach.

Replacement Cost

Here, we gather information on local construction costs, labor rates and other factors to determine how much it would cost to replace the property being appraised. This figure 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 get to know the communities in which they work. We innately understand the value of particular features to the people of that area. Then, the appraiser researches recent transactions in the vicinity 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, an additional living area, quality of construction, lot size, we adjust the comparable properties so that they are more accurately in line with the features of subject property.

  • For example, if the comparable has an extra half bath that the subject doesn't, the appraiser may subtract the value of that half bath from the sales price of the comparable.
  • If the subject has an extra half-bathroom and the comparable does not, the appraiser might add a certain amount to the comparable property.
When it comes to putting a value on features of homes in Jefferson and Ashe, Parkway Appraisals is second to none. This approach to value is commonly given the most weight when an appraisal is for a real estate exchange.

Valuation Using the Income Approach

A third way of valuing a property is sometimes employed when a neighborhood has a measurable number of rental properties. In this situation, the amount of revenue the real estate produces is factored in with other rents in the area for comparable properties to derive the current value.

Arriving at a Value Conclusion

Examining the data from all applicable approaches, the appraiser is then ready to stipulate an estimated market value for the property in question. The estimate of value at the bottom of the appraisal report is not necessarily what's being paid for the property even though it is likely the best indication of what a property could sell for in an open market. There are always mitigating factors such as the seller's desire to get out of the property, 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 would likely sell for in an open marketplace. It all comes down to this: An appraiser from Parkway Appraisals will guarantee you discover the most accurate property value, so you can make profitable real estate decisions.