Understanding Appraisals

A home purchase can be the most serious financial decision most could ever encounter. It doesn't matter if where you raise your family, a seasonal vacation home or an investment, purchasing real property is an involved transaction that requires multiple parties to make it all happen.

Most of the participants are quite familiar. The real estate agent is the most known face in the transaction. Next, the mortgage company provides the financial capital required to fund the transaction. And ensuring all details of the exchange are completed and that a clear title passes 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 amount being paid? This is where the appraiser comes in. 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 Sound Appraisal Group, Inc will ensure, you as an interested party, are informed.

Inspecting the subject property

To ascertain the true status of the property, it's our responsibility to first complete a thorough inspection. We must see features hands on, such as the number of bedrooms and bathrooms, the location, amenities, etc., to ensure they really are present and are in the condition a typical person would expect them to be. To make sure the stated square footage is accurate and describe the layout of the property, the inspection often includes creating a sketch of the floorplan. Most importantly, we look 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 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 uses information on local construction costs, the cost of labor and other elements to figure out how much it would cost to construct a property comparable to the one being appraised. This estimate often sets the upper limit on what a property would sell for. It's also the least used predictor of value.

Sales Comparison

Appraisers get to know the subdivisions in which they work. They thoroughly understand the value of particular features to the residents of that area. Then, the appraiser looks up recent sales in the vicinity and finds properties which are 'comparable' to the real estate being appraised. By assigning a dollar value to 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 property has an irrigation system and the subject doesn't, the appraiser may subtract the value of an irrigation system 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.

Once all necessary adjustments have been made, the appraiser reconciles the adjusted sales prices of all the comps and then derives an opinion of what the subject could sell for. At Sound Appraisal Group, Inc, we are an authority when it comes to knowing the worth of particular items in Silverdale and Kitsap County neighborhoods. This approach to value is typically given the most consideration when an appraisal is for a home sale.

Valuation Using the Income Approach

A third way of valuing a house is sometimes used when an area has a measurable number of renter occupied properties. In this scenario, the amount of revenue the property yields is taken into consideration along with other rents in the area for comparable properties to give an indicator of the current value.

Putting It All Together

Analyzing the data from all applicable approaches, the appraiser is then ready to state 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. Regardless, the appraised value is often used as a guideline for lenders who don't want to loan a buyer more money than the property is actually worth. Here's what it all boils down to, an appraiser from Sound Appraisal Group, Inc will help you discover the most accurate property value, so you can make the most informed real estate decisions.