An Overview of the Appraisal Process

Getting a home can be the most serious financial decision many people might ever encounter. It doesn't matter if where you raise your family, a seasonal vacation property or a rental fixer upper, purchasing real property is an involved financial transaction that requires multiple parties to pull it all off.

The majority of the parties participating are very familiar. The real estate agent is the most known entity in the transaction. Next, the mortgage company provides the financial capital needed to finance the exchange. And ensuring all aspects of the transaction are completed and that a clear title transfers from the seller to the buyer 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 real estate is worth the purchase price? This is where you meet 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 Personal Service Realty's Residential Valuation Group 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 conduct a thorough inspection. We must actually view features, such as the number of bedrooms and bathrooms, the location, amenities, etc., to ensure they really exist and are in the shape a typical person would expect them to be. To ensure the stated square footage is accurate and illustrate the layout of the property, the inspection often requires creating a sketch of the floorplan. Most importantly, the appraiser identifies any obvious amenities - or defects - that would have an impact on the value of the house.

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

Replacement Cost

This is where the appraiser pulls information on local construction costs, labor rates and other factors to determine how much it would cost to replace the property being appraised. This value often sets the upper limit on what a property would sell for. It's also the least used method.

Analyzing Comparable Sales

Appraisers can tell you a lot about the neighborhoods in which they appraise. They thoroughly understand the value of certain features to the homeowners of that area. Then, the appraiser looks up recent transactions in the vicinity and finds properties which are 'comparable' to the property 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 adjust the comparable properties so that they more accurately portray the features of subject property.

  • Say, for example, the comparable has an irrigation system and the subject doesn't, the appraiser may deduct the value of an irrigation system from the sales price of the comparable.
  • However, 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.

In the end, 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 associating a value with features of homes in Jacksonville and Duval, Personal Service Realty's Residential Valuation Group is second to none. This approach to value is commonly given the most importance when an appraisal is for a home exchange.

Valuation Using the Income Approach

A third way of valuing a house is sometimes applied when an area has a measurable number of rental properties. In this situation, the amount of revenue the property yields is taken into consideration along with income produced by similar properties to derive the current value.

Arriving at a Value Conclusion

Combining information from all applicable approaches, the appraiser is then ready to state an estimated market value for the property at hand. Note: While this amount is probably the strongest indication of what a property is worth, it may not be the final sales price. It's not uncommon for prices to be driven up or down by extenuating circumstances like the motivation or urgency of a seller or 'bidding wars'. Regardless, the appraised value is typically employed as a guideline for lenders who don't want to loan a buyer more money than they could recover in the event they had to put the property on the market again. The bottom line is, an appraiser from Personal Service Realty's Residential Valuation Group will guarantee you discover the most fair and balanced property value, so you can make the most informed real estate decisions.