Understanding the Appraisal Process

Buying a home is the biggest financial decision some of us could ever consider. It doesn't matter if it's a main residence, a seasonal vacation home or one of many rentals, purchasing real property is a complex transaction that requires multiple people working in concert to pull it all off.

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It's likely you are familiar with the parties taking part in the transaction. The real estate agent is the most recognizable person in the exchange. Then, the mortgage company provides the financial capital necessary to bankroll the exchange. The title company sees to it that all areas of the exchange are completed and that a clear title transfers to the buyer from the seller.

So what party makes sure the property is consistent with the amount being paid?   In comes the appraiser.   We provide an unbiased estimate 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 professional Georgia licensed appraiser from Marshall Appraisal Associates (770) 517-3133 9770 will ensure you as an interested party are informed.

Inspecting the subject property

Our first duty at Marshall Appraisal Associates (770) 517-3133 9770 is to inspect the property to determine its true status. We must physically see aspects of the property, such as the number of bedrooms and bathrooms, the location, and so on, to ensure they truly are there 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 accurate and conveying the layout of the property. Most importantly, the appraiser looks for any obvious features - or defects - that would affect the value of the property.

After the inspection, we use two or three approaches when determining the value of the property: a sales comparison, a replacement cost calculation, and an income approach when rental properties are prevalent.

Replacement Cost

Here, we use information on local construction costs, labor rates and other elements to ascertain how much it would cost to build a property similar to the one being appraised. This estimate commonly sets the maximum on what a property would sell for. It's also the least used predictor of value.

Sales Comparison

Appraisers can tell you a lot about the subdivisions in which they work. We innately understand the value of particular features to the residents of that area. Then, the appraiser looks up recent sales in close proximity to the subject and finds properties which are 'comparable' to the home being appraised. Using knowledge of the value of 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.

  • If, for example, the comparable has an irrigation system and the subject doesn't, the appraiser may deduct the value of an irrigation system from the sales price of the comparable home.
  • However, 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.
A true estimate of what the subject might sell for can only be determined once all differences between the comps and the subject have been evaluated. The sales comparison approach to value is commonly given the most consideration when an appraisal is for a home purchase.

Valuation Using the Income Approach

In the case of income producing properties - rental houses for example - we may use a third way of valuing a house. In this scenario, the amount of income the property generates is taken into consideration along with other rents in the area for comparable properties to determine the current value.

Coming Up With the Final Value

Examining the data from all applicable approaches, the appraiser is then ready to document an estimated market value for the subject property. The estimate of value on the appraisal report is not necessarily the final sales price even though it is likely the best indication of a property's market value 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 typically 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. At the end of the day: An appraiser from Marshall Appraisal Associates (770) 517-3133 9770 will guarantee you attain the most accurate property value, so you can make the most informed real estate decisions.