Understanding Appraisals

Buying a home is the largest investment many people might ever make. It doesn't matter if a main residence, a seasonal vacation property or one of many rentals, the purchase of real property is an involved transaction that requires multiple parties to pull it all off.

Most of the participants are quite familiar. The real estate agent is the most recognizable entity in the transaction. Next, the lender provides the financial capital necessary to bankroll the deal. And ensuring all requirements of the sale are completed and that a clear title transfers 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, who's responsible for making sure the property is worth the purchase price? In comes 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 Hertzler & Associates Real Estate Appraisers will ensure, you as an interested party, are informed.

Appraisals begin with the inspection

Our first responsibility at Hertzler & Associates Real Estate Appraisers is to inspect the property to determine its true status. We must see aspects of the property hands on, such as the number of bedrooms and bathrooms, the location, living areas, etc, to ensure they really are present and are in the condition a reasonable buyer would expect them to be. To make sure the stated square footage has not been misrepresented and document the layout of the house, the inspection often includes creating a sketch of the floorplan. Most importantly, the appraiser looks for any obvious features - or defects - that would have an impact on the value of the property.

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

Cost Approach

This is where the appraiser uses information on local building costs, labor rates and other factors to figure out 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. The cost approach is also the least used predictor of value.

Paired Sales Analysis

Appraisers become very familiar with the subdivisions in which they appraise. They innately understand the value of certain features to the homeowners of that area. Then, the appraiser researches recent sales in the vicinity and finds properties which are 'comparable' to the property being appraised. Using knowledge of the value of certain items such as remodeled rooms, types of flooring, energy efficient items, patios and porches, or extra storage space, 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 does not, the appraiser may deduct the value of that half bath from the sales price of the comparable home.
  • 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.

An opinion of what the subject might 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 Williamsburg and Williamsburg City, Hertzler & Associates Real Estate Appraisers can't be beat. This approach to value is commonly given 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 - the appraiser may use an additional approach to value. In this case, the amount of revenue the property generates is taken into consideration along with income produced by similar properties to derive the current value.

Reconciliation

Analyzing 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 on the appraisal report is not always the final sales price 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 the final price up or down. But the appraised value is often employed as a guideline for lenders who don't want to loan a buyer more money than they could get back in the event they had to put the property on the market again. Here's what it all boils down to, an appraiser from Hertzler & Associates Real Estate Appraisers will guarantee you attain the most accurate property value, so you can make profitable real estate decisions.