Understanding the Appraisal Process

Acquiring a home is the largest transaction some will ever consider. It doesn't matter if where you raise your family, an additional vacation property or an investment, purchasing real property is a detailed transaction that requires multiple parties to see it through.

It's likely you are familiar with the parties having a role in the transaction. The real estate agent is the most familiar person in the transaction. Next, the mortgage company provides the money required to finance the deal. And the title company ensures that all requirements of the exchange are completed and that the title is clear to pass from the seller to the buyer.

To learn more about appraising, click here to see a short video or call us today to talk about your specific property.

So, who makes sure the property is worth the amount being paid? In comes the appraiser. We provide an unbiased estimate of what a buyer could 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 Allstate Appraisal, Inc. will ensure, you as an interested party, are informed.

The inspection is where an appraisal begins

To ascertain the true status of the property, it's our responsibility to first conduct a thorough inspection. We must actually see aspects of the property, such as the number of bedrooms and bathrooms, the location, living areas, etc, to ensure they indeed are present and are in the condition a typical buyer would expect them to be. To ensure the stated size of the property has not been misrepresented and illustrate the layout of the home, the inspection often includes creating a sketch of the floorplan. Most importantly, we identify any obvious features - or defects - that would have an impact on the value of the house.

Back at the office, an appraiser uses 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.

Replacement Cost

Here, we pull 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 maximum on what a property would sell for. The cost approach is also the least used predictor of value.

Paired Sales Analysis

Appraisers get to know the neighborhoods in which they appraise. They thoroughly understand the value of certain features to the people of that area. Then, the appraiser looks up recent sales in close proximity to the subject and finds properties which are 'comparable' to the subject at hand. By assigning a dollar value to certain items such as square footage, additional bathrooms, hardwood floors, fireplaces or view lots (just to name a few), we adjust the comparable properties so that they are more accurately in line with the features of subject property.

  • If, for example, the comparable property has a storm shelter and the subject doesn't, the appraiser may deduct the value of a storm shelter from the sales price of the comparable home.
  • If the subject property has an extra half-bathroom and the comparable does not, the appraiser might add an amount to the comparable property.

A valid estimate of what the subject could sell for can only be determined once all differences between the comps and the subject have been evaluated. At Allstate Appraisal, Inc. , we are an authority when it comes to knowing the value of particular items in Phoenix and Maricopa County neighborhoods. The sales comparison approach to value is usually given the most importance when an appraisal is for a home purchase.

Valuation Using the Income Approach

A third way of valuing approach to value is sometimes applied when an area has a reasonable number of rental properties. In this scenario, the amount of revenue the property produces is factored in with income produced by comparable properties to give an indicator of the current value.

Arriving at a Value Conclusion

Examining the data from all approaches, the appraiser is then ready to put down an estimated market value for the subject property. The estimate of value at the bottom of 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 valueThere are always mitigating factors such as seller motivation, urgency or 'bidding wars' that may adjust the final price up or down. But the appraised value is often used as a guideline for lenders who don't want to loan a buyer more money than they could get back in case they had to put the property on the market again. The bottom line is, an appraiser from Allstate Appraisal, Inc. will help you attain the most accurate property value, so you can make the most informed real estate decisions.