A Description of the Appraisal Process

Acquiring real estate can be the biggest financial decision many people could ever consider. Whether it's a primary residence, an additional vacation home or an investment, the purchase of real property is a complex financial transaction that requires multiple parties to pull it all off.

You're likely to be familiar with the parties taking part in the transaction. The most known person in the transaction is the real estate agent. Then, the lender provides the money required to finance the transaction. And ensuring all details of the exchange are completed and that the title is clear to pass 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, who makes sure the property is worth the amount being paid? 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 Central Arizona Appraisers will ensure, you as an interested party, are informed.

Inspecting the subject property

Our first duty at Central Arizona Appraisers 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, living areas, etc, to ensure they truly are there 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 convey the layout of the home, the inspection often requires creating a sketch of the floorplan. Most importantly, we look for any obvious features - or defects - that would affect the value of the house.

After the inspection, we use 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 construction costs, labor rates and other elements to figure out how much it would cost to replace the property being appraised. This figure often sets the upper limit on what a property would sell for. It's also the least used predictor of value.

Sales Comparison

Appraisers are intimately familiar with the subdivisions in which they work. They thoroughly understand the value of particular features to the homeowners of that area. Then, the appraiser researches recent transactions in the neighborhood and finds properties which are 'comparable' to the subject in question. Using knowledge of the value of certain items such as square footage, extra 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 property.

  • Say, for example, the comparable property has an irrigation system and the subject doesn't, the appraiser may subtract the value of an irrigation system from the sales price of the comparable home.
  • But, 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.

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 valuing features of homes in Phoenix and Maricopa, Central Arizona Appraisers can't be beat. The sales comparison approach to value is usually awarded the most importance when an appraisal is for a real estate exchange.

Valuation Using the Income Approach

A third method of valuing a house is sometimes applied when an area has a measurable number of renter occupied properties. In this case, the amount of revenue the real estate generates is taken into consideration along with income produced by comparable properties to derive the current value.

Coming Up With The Final Value

Analyzing the data from all approaches, the appraiser is then ready to stipulate 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 what a property is worth. There are always mitigating factors such as the seller's desire to get out of the property, urgency or 'bidding wars' that may adjust an offer or listing price up or down. Regardless, 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 Central Arizona Appraisers will guarantee you attain the most fair and balanced property value, so you can make profitable real estate decisions.