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What is an appraisal?

A home purchase can be the most significant transaction most may ever make. It doesn't matter if it's where you raise your family, a seasonal vacation property or an investment, purchasing real property is an involved transaction that requires multiple people working in concert to pull it all off.

To learn more about appraising, click here to see a short video or call us today to talk about your specific property.


Most people are familiar with the parties having a role in the transaction. The most recognizable person in the exchange is the real estate agent. Next, the lender provides the money required to fund the deal. Ensuring all requirements of the sale are completed and that a clear title passes from the seller to the buyer is the title company.

So who makes sure the property is consistent with the amount being paid?   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 professional Georgia licensed appraiser from River Ridge Appraisal Service (706) 291-4321 will ensure you as an interested party are informed.

Inspecting the subject property

Our first task at River Ridge Appraisal Service (706) 291-4321 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 indeed are there and are in the shape a reasonable person would expect them to be. To ensure the stated size of the property is accurate and describe the layout of the house, the inspection often requires creating a sketch of the floor plan. Most importantly, the appraiser identifies any obvious features - or defects - that would have an impact on the value of the house.

Once the site has been inspected, we use two or three approaches when determining the value of real property: paired sales analysis and, in the case of a rental property, an income approach.

Replacement Cost

Here, we gather information on local construction costs, labor rates and other elements to determine how much it would cost to replace the property being appraised. This value usually sets the maximum on what a property would sell for. The cost approach is also the least used predictor of value.

Analyzing Comparable Sales

Appraisers are intimately familiar with the neighborhoods in which they appraise. We innately understand the value of certain features to the people of that area. Then, the appraiser researches recent sales in the neighborhood and finds properties which are 'comparable' to the subject in question. By assigning a dollar value to certain items such as square footage, extra bathrooms, hardwood floors, fireplaces or view lots (just to name a few), we adjust the comparable properties so that they are more accurately in line with the features of subject.

  • For example, if the comparable has a fireplace and the subject doesn't, the appraiser may subtract the value of a fireplace 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 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 usually awarded the most importance when an appraisal is for a home exchange.

Valuation Using the Income Approach

In the case of income producing properties - rental houses for example - the appraiser may use an additional way of valuing a house. In this case, the amount of income the real estate produces is factored in with other rents in the area for comparable properties to derive the current value.

Reconciliation

Examining the data from all approaches, the appraiser is then ready to stipulate an estimated market value for the property at hand. Note: While the appraised value is probably the strongest indication of what a property would sell for in an open market, it may 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. Regardless, the appraised value is typically employed as a guideline for lenders who don't want to loan a buyer more money than the property would likely sell for in an open marketplace. Here's what it all boils down to: An appraiser from River Ridge Appraisal Service (706) 291-4321 will help you discover the most fair and balanced property value, so you can make wise real estate decisions.