Understanding Appraisals

Their home's purchase is the most significant financial decision some of us might ever make. It doesn't matter if a primary residence, a seasonal vacation home or one of many rentals, the purchase of real property is a detailed financial transaction that requires multiple parties to make it all happen.

Most people are familiar with the parties having a role in the transaction. The real estate agent is the most familiar face in the exchange. Next, the mortgage company provides the money needed to finance the deal. And the title company ensures that all aspects of the transaction are completed and that the title is clear to transfer 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, what party makes sure the value of the property is consistent with the amount being paid? In comes 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 Phoenix Valuations, LLC will ensure, you as an interested party, are informed.

The inspection is where an appraisal starts

Our first responsibility at Phoenix Valuations, LLC is to inspect the property to determine its true status. We must see aspects of the property first hand, such as the number of bedrooms and bathrooms, the location, amenities, etc., to ensure they indeed exist 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 describe the layout of the home, the inspection often entails creating a sketch of the floorplan. Most importantly, we identify 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 the property: paired sales analysis and, in the case of a rental property, an income approach.

Cost Approach

Here, the appraiser uses information on local building costs, labor rates and other elements to determine how much it would cost to build a property comparable to the one being appraised. This value usually sets the maximum on what a property would sell for. It's also the least used method.

Paired Sales Analysis

Appraisers get to know the communities in which they work. They innately understand the value of particular features to the residents of that area. Then, the appraiser researches recent transactions in the area and finds properties which are 'comparable' to the subject 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 property.

  • For example, if the comparable property has a fireplace and the subject does not, the appraiser may subtract the value of a fireplace from the sales price of the comparable home.
  • However, if the subject has an extra half-bathroom and the comparable does not, the appraiser might add a certain amount 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 knowing the true worth of features of homes in Scottsdale and Maricopa, Phoenix Valuations, LLC can't be beat. The sales comparison approach to value is commonly awarded the most weight when an appraisal is for a home exchange.

Valuation Using the Income Approach

In the case of income producing properties - rental houses for example - we may use an additional way of valuing a property. In this case, the amount of revenue the property generates is factored in with other rents in the area for comparable properties to determine the current value.

Putting It All Together

Combining information from all applicable approaches, the appraiser is then ready to document an estimated market value for the property in question. It is important to note that while this amount is probably the best indication of what a property is worth, it probably will not be the price at which the property closes. 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 often employed 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 Phoenix Valuations, LLC will guarantee you get the most accurate property value, so you can make the most informed real estate decisions.