Making Sense of the Appraisal Process

A home purchase is the largest transaction some of us may ever make. Whether it's where you raise your family, a second vacation property or an investment, purchasing real property is an involved financial transaction that requires multiple people working in concert to pull it all off.

It's likely you are familiar with the parties having a role in the transaction. The real estate agent is the most known entity in the exchange. Next, the lender provides the financial capital needed to fund the exchange. And ensuring all details of the transaction are completed and that a clear title transfers from the seller to the purchaser 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 value of the property is in line with the amount being paid? This is where you meet the appraiser. 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 Alaska Real Estate Appraisal will ensure, you as an interested party, are informed.

The inspection is where an appraisal begins

Our first responsibility at Alaska Real Estate Appraisal is to inspect the property to ascertain its true status. We must actually view features, such as the number of bedrooms and bathrooms, the location, amenities, etc., to ensure they truly exist and are in the condition a typical person would expect them to be. To make sure the stated size of the property has not been misrepresented and document the layout of the property, the inspection often requires creating a sketch of the floorplan. Most importantly, the appraiser looks for any obvious amenities - or defects - that would have an impact on the value of the house.

Next, after 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

Here, we pull information on local building costs, the cost of labor and other factors to ascertain how much it would cost to replace the property being appraised. This figure commonly sets the maximum on what a property would sell for. It's also the least used predictor of value.

Paired Sales Analysis

Appraisers are intimately familiar with the subdivisions in which they work. They innately understand the value of certain features to the people of that area. Then, the appraiser looks up recent transactions in the neighborhood and finds properties which are 'comparable' to the home at hand. Using knowledge of the value of certain items such as upgraded appliances, additional bathrooms, additional living area, quality of construction, lot size, we adjust the comparable properties so that they are more accurately in line with the features of subject property.

  • Say, for example, the comparable property has an extra half bath that the subject does not, the appraiser may deduct the value of that half bath 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.

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. When it comes to associating a value with features of homes in Palmer and Matanuska Susitna, Alaska Real Estate Appraisal can't be beat. This approach to value is commonly awarded the most consideration when an appraisal is for a real estate exchange.

Valuation Using the Income Approach

A third method of valuing a house is sometimes employed when a neighborhood has a reasonable number of renter occupied properties. In this scenario, the amount of revenue the real estate generates is taken into consideration along with other rents in the area for comparable properties to give an indicator of the current value.

Putting It All Together

Analyzing the data from all approaches, the appraiser is then ready to state an estimated market value for the subject property. Note: While this amount is probably the most reliable indication of what a house is worth, it may not be the final sales price. Depending on the specific situations of the buyer or seller, their level of urgency or a buyer's desire for that exact property, the closing price of a home can always be driven up or down.Regardless, the appraised value is often used as a guideline for lenders who don't want to loan a buyer more money than the property is actually worth. At the end of the day, an appraiser from Alaska Real Estate Appraisal will help you get the most fair and balanced property value, so you can make wise real estate decisions.