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Comprehending Appraisals

A home purchase can be the most serious financial decision many people could ever encounter. Whether it's a main residence, a second vacation property or one of many rentals, the purchase of real property is a detailed financial transaction that requires multiple parties to see it through.

The majority of the people participating are quite familiar. The real estate agent is the most familiar face in the transaction. Next, the bank provides the financial capital needed to fund the exchange. And ensuring all aspects of the sale are completed and that a clear title passes from the seller to the buyer 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, what party makes sure the property is worth the purchase price? In comes the appraiser. We provide an unbiased estimate 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 Desert Sky Appraisers will ensure, you as an interested party, are informed.

The inspection is where an appraisal starts

Our first responsibility at Desert Sky Appraisers is to inspect the property to ascertain its true status. We must see features first hand, such as the number of bedrooms and bathrooms, the location, and so on, to ensure they really are present and are in the shape a typical buyer would expect them to be. To ensure the stated square footage has not been misrepresented and illustrate the layout of the property, the inspection often includes creating a sketch of the floorplan. Most importantly, we look for any obvious features - or defects - that would affect the value of the house.

Back at the office, an appraiser uses two or three approaches to determining the value of the property: a paired sales analysis, a replacement cost calculation, and an income approach when rental properties are prevalent.

Replacement Cost

Here, the appraiser pulls information on local building costs, the cost of labor and other factors to derive how much it would cost to build a property nearly identical to the one being appraised. This figure usually sets the upper limit on what a property would sell for. It's also the least used method.

Analyzing Comparable Sales

Appraisers are intimately familiar with the neighborhoods in which they work. They thoroughly understand the value of specific 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 subject at hand. Using knowledge of the value of certain items such as remodeled rooms, types of flooring, energy efficient items, patios and porches, or extra storage space, we add or subtract from each comparable's sales price so that they are more accurately in line with the features of subject property.

  • For example, if the comparable property has an extra half bath that the subject does not, the appraiser may subtract the value of that half bath 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.

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 Desert Sky Appraisers, we are experts in knowing the value of real estate features in Chandler and Maricopa County neighborhoods. The sales comparison approach to value is most often awarded the most weight when an appraisal is for a real estate purchase.

Valuation Using the Income Approach

A third way of valuing approach to value is sometimes employed when an area has a measurable number of rental properties. In this situation, the amount of income the real estate generates is taken into consideration along with other rents in the area for comparable properties to derive 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 subject property. It is important to note that while this amount is probably the most accurate indication of what a house is worth, it probably will not be the final sales price. Prices can always be driven up or down by extenuating circumstances like the motivation or urgency of a seller or 'bidding wars'. Regardless, the appraised value is often employed as a guideline for lenders who don't want to loan a buyer more money than the property is actually worth. The bottom line is, an appraiser from Desert Sky Appraisers will guarantee you attain the most fair and balanced property value, so you can make the most informed real estate decisions.