Home Appraisals: A Primer

Their home's purchase can be the biggest transaction most of us might ever make. It doesn't matter if where you raise your family, an additional vacation home or an investment, the purchase of real property is a complex transaction that requires multiple people working in concert to see it through.

Practically all the participants are very familiar. The real estate agent is the most recognizable entity in the transaction. Next, the lender provides the financial capital needed to finance the transaction. And the title company ensures that all areas of the exchange are completed and that the title is clear to transfer to the buyer from the seller.

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 in line with the purchase price? 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 VolkHaus Appraisals will ensure, you as an interested party, are informed.

Appraisals start with the inspection

Our first responsibility at VolkHaus Appraisals is to inspect the property to determine its true status. We must physically view aspects of the property, such as the number of bedrooms and bathrooms, the location, living areas, etc, to ensure they really are present and are in the shape a typical person would expect them to be. To make sure the stated square footage has not been misrepresented and describe the layout of the home, the inspection often entails creating a sketch of the floorplan. Most importantly, we look 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: sales comparison and, in the case of a rental property, an income approach.

Cost Approach

This is where the appraiser pulls information on local building costs, the cost of labor and other factors to derive how much it would cost to construct a property comparable to the one being appraised. This figure usually sets the upper limit on what a property would sell for. The cost approach is also the least used method.

Analyzing Comparable Sales

Appraisers get to know the subdivisions in which they work. They thoroughly understand the value of specific features to the residents of that area. Then, the appraiser looks up recent transactions in close proximity to the subject and finds properties which are 'comparable' to the property at hand. 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 adjust the comparable properties so that they more accurately match the features of subject.

  • 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.
  • 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 might sell for can only be determined once all differences between the comps and the subject have been evaluated. When it comes to knowing the true worth of features of homes in Denver and Denver, VolkHaus Appraisals can't be beat. The sales comparison approach to value is usually given the most weight when an appraisal is for a home exchange.

Valuation Using the Income Approach

A third way of valuing a house is sometimes used when a neighborhood has a reasonable number of rental properties. In this scenario, the amount of income the property produces is taken into consideration along with income produced by nearby properties to give an indicator of the current value.

Coming Up With The Final Value

Analyzing the data from all approaches, the appraiser is then ready to put down an estimated market value for the property in question. Note: While this amount is probably the most accurate indication of what a property is worth, it probably will not be the final sales price. 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. But the appraised value is often used as a guideline for lenders who don't want to loan a buyer more money than they could get back in case they had to sell the property again. Here's what it all boils down to, an appraiser from VolkHaus Appraisals will guarantee you get the most fair and balanced property value, so you can make the most informed real estate decisions.