Decoding the Appraisal Process

Buying real estate can be the most serious financial decision most might ever consider. Whether it's a primary residence, a second vacation home or an investment, purchasing real property is a complex transaction that requires multiple parties to pull it all off.

Practically all the parties involved are very familiar. The real estate agent is the most known face in the exchange. Then, the lender provides the money necessary to fund the transaction. The title company ensures that all details of the sale are completed and that a clear title passes from the seller to the purchaser.

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 real estate is in line with the purchase price? In comes the appraiser. We provide an unbiased opinion of what a buyer could expect to pay — or a seller receive — for a parcel of real estate, where both buyer and seller are informed parties. A licensed, certified, professional appraiser from Ru Appraisals, LLC will ensure, you as an interested party, are informed.

Inspecting the subject property

To ascertain an accurate status of the property, it's our duty to first perform a thorough inspection. We must see aspects of the property hands on, such as the number of bedrooms and bathrooms, the location, amenities, etc., to ensure they really are present and are in the shape a typical buyer would expect them to be. The inspection often includes a sketch of the house, ensuring the square footage is proper and conveying the layout of the property. Most importantly, the appraiser looks for any obvious features - or defects - that would have an impact on the value of the property.

Next, after the inspection, we use 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.

Replacement Cost

This is where we analyze information on local construction costs, the cost of labor and other elements to determine how much it would cost to replace the property being appraised. This figure usually sets the maximum on what a property would sell for. It's also the least used predictor of value.

Sales Comparison

Appraisers become very familiar with the subdivisions in which they work. They thoroughly understand the value of particular features to the people of that area. Then, the appraiser looks up 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 remodeled rooms, types of flooring, energy efficient items, patios and porches, or additional storage space, we add or subtract from each comparable's sales price so that they more accurately match the features of subject property.

  • Say, for example, the comparable has a storm shelter and the subject doesn't, the appraiser may deduct the value of a storm shelter from the sales price of the comparable home.
  • If the subject property has an extra half-bathroom and the comparable does not, the appraiser might add a certain amount to the comparable property.

An opinion of what the subject could sell for can only be determined once all differences between the comps and the subject have been evaluated. At Ru Appraisals, LLC, we are experts when it comes to knowing the worth of particular items in Whiting and Ocean County neighborhoods. The sales comparison approach to value is commonly awarded the most weight when an appraisal is for a real estate purchase.

Valuation Using the Income Approach

A third way of valuing a house is sometimes applied when a neighborhood has a measurable number of rental properties. In this situation, the amount of revenue the real estate yields is factored in with other rents in the area for comparable properties to give an indicator of the current value.

Arriving at a Value Conclusion

Combining information from all approaches, the appraiser is then ready to stipulate an estimated market value for the property in question. The estimate of value on the appraisal report is not always what's being paid for the property even though it is likely the best indication of what a property is worth. 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'. But the appraised value is typically employed as a guideline for lenders who don't want to loan a buyer more money than they could recover in the event they had to sell the property again. The bottom line is, an appraiser from Ru Appraisals, LLC will guarantee you get the most accurate property value, so you can make the most informed real estate decisions.