What Is an Appraisal?

Their home's purchase can be the largest financial decision most people could ever encounter. It doesn't matter if where you raise your family, a second vacation property or an investment, purchasing real property is a complex financial transaction that requires multiple people working in concert to make it all happen.

It's likely you are familiar with the parties taking part in the transaction. The most known face in the transaction is the real estate agent. Then, the mortgage company provides the money necessary to finance the exchange. The title company makes sure that all aspects of the transaction are completed and that a clear title transfers from the seller to the purchaser.

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 value of the real estate is consistent with the purchase price? This is where you meet the appraiser. We provide an unbiased opinion 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 Mannion Appraisals will ensure, you as an interested party, are informed.

Appraisals begin with the home inspection

To ascertain the true status of the property, it's our duty to first perform a thorough inspection. We must physically see aspects of the property, such as the number of bedrooms and bathrooms, the location, and so on, to ensure they indeed exist and are in the condition a reasonable person would expect them to be. The inspection often includes a sketch of the floorplan, ensuring the square footage is correct and conveying the layout of the property. Most importantly, the appraiser looks for any obvious features - or defects - that would have an impact on the value of the property.

Following the inspection, an appraiser uses two or three approaches to determining the value of real 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 building costs, labor rates and other elements to ascertain how much it would cost to replace the property being appraised. This value commonly 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 particular features to the residents of that area. Then, the appraiser looks up recent transactions in the neighborhood and finds properties which are 'comparable' to the subject being appraised. Using knowledge of the value of certain items such as square footage, additional bathrooms, hardwood floors, fireplaces or view lots (just to name a few), we add or subtract from each comparable's sales price so that they are more accurately in line with the features of subject.

  • If, 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 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 knowing the true value of features of homes in Oak Lawn and Cook, Mannion Appraisals can't be beat. This approach to value is most often awarded 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 measurable number of renter occupied properties. In this case, the amount of income the property produces is factored in with income produced by neighboring properties to derive the current value.

The Bottom Line

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 what's being paid for the property even though it is likely the best indication of what a property is worth. 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 get back in the event they had to sell the property again. The bottom line is, an appraiser from Mannion Appraisals will guarantee you attain the most fair and balanced property value, so you can make wise real estate decisions.