Home Appraisals: A Primer

Getting real estate can be the biggest financial decision many people may ever consider. It doesn't matter if where you raise your family, a seasonal vacation property or one of many rentals, the purchase of real property is a complex transaction that requires multiple people working in concert to see it through.

You're likely to be familiar with the parties having a role in the transaction. The most recognizable face in the transaction is the real estate agent. Then, the mortgage company provides the money needed to bankroll the transaction. And ensuring all requirements of the sale are completed and that a clear title transfers to the buyer from the seller 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 is responsible for making sure the real estate is worth the purchase price? In comes 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 licensed, certified, professional appraiser from TNC Appraisal Service, Inc. will ensure, you as an interested party, are informed.

The inspection is where an appraisal starts

Our first responsibility at TNC Appraisal Service, Inc. is to inspect the property to determine its true status. We must physically see aspects of the property, such as the number of bedrooms and bathrooms, the location, amenities, etc., to ensure they indeed are there and are in the shape a reasonable person would expect them to be. The inspection often includes a sketch of the floorplan, ensuring the square footage is accurate and illustrating the layout of the property. Most importantly, we look for any obvious amenities - or defects - that would affect the value of the house.

Back at the office, we use two or three approaches to determining the value of the property: paired sales analysis and, in the case of a rental property, an income approach.

Cost Approach

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

Sales Comparison

Appraisers are intimately familiar with the communities in which they appraise. They innately understand the value of particular features to the residents of that area. Then, the appraiser researches recent sales in close proximity to the subject and finds properties which are 'comparable' to the property in question. Using knowledge of the value of certain items such as fireplaces, room layout, appliance upgrades, extra bathrooms or bedrooms, or quality of construction, we add or subtract from each comparable's sales price so that they are more accurately in line with the features of subject.

  • For example, if the comparable property has a fireplace and the subject does not, the appraiser may deduct the value of a fireplace from the sales price of the comparable home.
  • 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.

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 valuing features of homes in Manahawkin and Ocean, TNC Appraisal Service, Inc. can't be beat. The sales comparison approach to value is typically 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 a third approach to value. In this situation, the amount of revenue the property generates is factored in with income produced by comparable properties to give an indicator of the current value.

The Bottom Line

Combining information from all approaches, the appraiser is then ready to document an estimated market value for the property in question. It is important to note that while the appraised value is probably the most reliable indication of what a property is worth, it probably will 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.But the appraised value is typically used 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. At the end of the day, an appraiser from TNC Appraisal Service, Inc. will help you discover the most fair and balanced property value, so you can make the most informed real estate decisions.