Understanding the Appraisal ProcessGetting a house can be the most serious investment most of us will ever consider. Whether it's where you raise your family, an additional vacation property or a rental fixer upper, the purchase of real property is an involved financial transaction that requires multiple parties to make it all happen.
The majority of the participants are very familiar. The real estate agent is the most recognizable face in the transaction. Then, the mortgage company provides the money required to finance the transaction. The title company ensures that all aspects of the transaction are completed and that a clear title passes to the buyer from the seller.
So what party is responsible for making sure the value of the real estate is consistent with the purchase price? This is where the appraiser comes in. 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 Maine licensed appraiser from Foster Appraisal Services, LLC will ensure you as an interested party are informed.
Inspecting the subject propertyOur first duty at Foster Appraisal Services, LLC is to inspect the property to ascertain its true status. We must see aspects of the property hands on, such as the number of bedrooms and bathrooms, the location, and so on, to ensure they truly are present and are in the shape a typical person would expect them to be. To make sure the stated size of the property is accurate and document the layout of the home, the inspection often entails creating a sketch of the floor plan. Most importantly, the appraiser identifies any obvious amenities - or defects - that would affect the value of the house.
Following the inspection, an appraiser employs two or three approaches when determining the value of real property: sales comparison and, in the case of a rental property, an income approach.
Replacement CostHere, we gather information on local building costs, the cost of labor and other factors to calculate how much it would cost to replace the property being appraised. This value often sets the maximum on what a property would sell for. The cost approach is also the least used method.
Sales ComparisonAppraisers become very familiar with the neighborhoods in which they work. We innately understand the value of particular features to the homeowners of that area. Then, the appraiser researches recent sales in the area and finds properties which are 'comparable' to the real estate at hand. 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.
Valuation Using the Income ApproachIn the case of income producing properties - rental houses for example - we may use a third approach to value. In this situation, the amount of income the real estate produces is taken into consideration along with income produced by neighboring properties to give an indicator of the current value.
Putting It All TogetherCombining information from all approaches, the appraiser is then ready to state an estimated market value for the property at hand. The estimate of value at the bottom of the appraisal report is not necessarily the final sales price even though it is likely the best indication of what a property could sell for in an open market. There are always mitigating factors such as seller motivation, urgency or 'bidding wars' that may adjust an offer or listing price up or down. Regardless, 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 the event they had to put the property on the market again. Here's what it all boils down to: An appraiser from Foster Appraisal Services, LLC will help you attain the most fair and balanced property value, so you can make the most informed real estate decisions.