profile picture

Making Sense of the Appraisal Process

Buying a home can be the most important financial decision some could ever consider. Whether it's where you raise your family, a second vacation property or one of many rentals, purchasing real property is a detailed transaction that requires multiple people working in concert 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 recognizable entity in the transaction. Then, the bank provides the money necessary to finance the transaction. And ensuring all areas of the exchange are completed and that the title is clear to transfer 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 makes sure the real estate is worth the purchase price? This is where the appraiser comes in. We provide an unbiased estimate 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 DANIEL I KANDEL will ensure, you as an interested party, are informed.

Appraisals start with the property inspection

Our first responsibility at DANIEL I KANDEL is to inspect the property to ascertain its true status. We must actually view aspects of the property, such as the number of bedrooms and bathrooms, the location, and so on, to ensure they truly exist and are in the shape a reasonable person would expect them to be. To make sure the stated square footage has not been misrepresented and convey the layout of the home, the inspection often includes creating a sketch of the floorplan. Most importantly, the appraiser looks for any obvious amenities - or defects - that would affect the value of the house.

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.

Replacement Cost

This is where the appraiser pulls information on local building costs, labor rates and other elements to ascertain how much it would cost to replace the property being appraised. This estimate usually sets the maximum on what a property would sell for. It's also the least used method.

Analyzing Comparable Sales

Appraisers are intimately familiar with the communities in which they work. They innately understand the value of specific features to the residents of that area. Then, the appraiser researches recent transactions in close proximity to the subject and finds properties which are 'comparable' to the real estate being appraised. 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 add or subtract from each comparable's sales price so that they more accurately portray the features of subject.

  • For example, if the comparable property has an extra half bath that the subject does not, the appraiser may subtract the value of that half bath 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.

An opinion of what the subject might sell for can only be determined once all differences between the comps and the subject have been evaluated. At DANIEL I KANDEL, we are an authority in knowing the value of real estate features in Weston/Ft. Lauderdale and Broward County neighborhoods. The sales comparison approach to value is commonly awarded the most weight when an appraisal is for a real estate exchange.

Valuation Using the Income Approach

A third way of valuing real estate is sometimes used when an area has a reasonable number of renter occupied properties. In this situation, the amount of revenue the real estate produces is taken into consideration along with income produced by similar properties to derive the current value.

Putting It All Together

Combining information from all approaches, the appraiser is then ready to stipulate an estimated market value for the subject property. It is important to note that while this amount is probably the most accurate indication of what a property is worth, it may not be the price at which the property closes. Prices can always be driven up or down by extenuating circumstances like the motivation or urgency of a seller or 'bidding wars'. 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. It all comes down to this, an appraiser from DANIEL I KANDEL will guarantee you get the most accurate property value, so you can make wise real estate decisions.