Understanding Appraisals

Their home's purchase can be the most important transaction many people may ever consider. It doesn't matter if a primary residence, a seasonal vacation property or one of many rentals, purchasing real property is an involved transaction that requires multiple parties to pull it all off.

You're probably familiar with the parties having a role in the transaction. The real estate agent is the most known person in the exchange. Next, the bank provides the financial capital required to fund the deal. The title company makes sure that all aspects of the sale are completed and that a clear title passes to the buyer from the seller.

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So, what party is responsible for making sure the value of the property is in line with the purchase price? This is where you meet the appraiser. We provide an unbiased estimate 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 Greater Orlando Appraisal Assoc., Inc. will ensure, you as an interested party, are informed.

Appraisals begin with the property inspection

Our first responsibility at Greater Orlando Appraisal Assoc., Inc. is to inspect the property to ascertain its true status. We must see aspects of the property hands on, such as the number of bedrooms and bathrooms, the location, amenities, etc., to ensure they really are there and are in the condition 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 amenities - or defects - that would have an impact on the value of the property.

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

Cost Approach

This is where the appraiser gathers information on local building costs, the cost of labor and other elements to determine how much it would cost to build a property similar to the one being appraised. This figure often sets the upper limit on what a property would sell for. It's also the least used method.

Sales Comparison

Appraisers can tell you a lot about the neighborhoods in which they appraise. They innately understand the value of specific features to the homeowners of that area. Then, the appraiser researches recent transactions in the neighborhood and finds properties which are 'comparable' to the property at hand. By assigning a dollar value to certain items such as remodeled rooms, types of flooring, energy efficient items, patios and porches, or additional storage space, we add or subtract from each comparable's sales price so that they are more accurately in line with the features of subject property.

  • For example, if the comparable property 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.
  • 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. At Greater Orlando Appraisal Assoc., Inc., we are experts when it comes to knowing the worth of real estate features in Orlando and Orange County neighborhoods. This approach to value is most often given the most weight when an appraisal is for a home exchange.

Valuation Using the Income Approach

A third way of valuing real estate is sometimes applied when a neighborhood has a reasonable number of renter occupied properties. In this case, the amount of revenue the real estate generates is factored in with other rents in the area for comparable properties to determine the current value.

Putting It All Together

Combining information from all applicable approaches, the appraiser is then ready to document an estimated market value for the subject property. The estimate of value on the appraisal report is not necessarily what's being paid for the property even though it is likely the best indication of a property's valueDepending on the specific 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 the property is actually worth. The bottom line is, an appraiser from Greater Orlando Appraisal Assoc., Inc. will guarantee you get the most accurate property value, so you can make wise real estate decisions.