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What Goes Into an Appraisal?

A home purchase is the most serious transaction most will ever encounter. Whether it's a main residence, an additional vacation home or one of many rentals, purchasing real property is a detailed transaction that requires multiple people working in concert to see it through.

Most people are familiar with the parties having a role in the transaction. The most recognizable entity in the exchange is the real estate agent. Then, the lender provides the money needed to bankroll the deal. And ensuring all aspects of the transaction are completed and that the title is clear to pass to the buyer from the seller 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 is responsible for making sure the property is worth 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 licensed, certified, professional appraiser from Appraisal Express HI, LLC will ensure, you as an interested party, are informed.

Appraisals begin with the home inspection

Our first responsibility at Appraisal Express HI, LLC is to inspect the property to determine its true status. We must physically see features, such as the number of bedrooms and bathrooms, the location, amenities, etc., to ensure they truly exist and are in the condition a typical person would expect them to be. To ensure the stated square footage is accurate and describe the layout of the home, the inspection often requires creating a sketch of the floorplan. Most importantly, the appraiser looks for any obvious features - or defects - that would affect the value of the house.

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

Replacement Cost

This is where the appraiser uses 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 estimate commonly sets the upper limit on what a property would sell for. The cost approach is also the least used predictor of value.

Paired Sales Analysis

Appraisers can tell you a lot about the communities in which they appraise. They thoroughly understand the value of certain features to the homeowners of that area. Then, the appraiser researches recent sales in the area and finds properties which are 'comparable' to the property in question. Using knowledge of the value of 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 more accurately match the features of subject.

  • Say, for example, the comparable property has a fireplace and the subject does not, the appraiser may subtract the value of a fireplace from the sales price of the comparable.
  • 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.

After all differences have been accounted for, the appraiser reconciles the adjusted sales prices of all the comps and then derives an opinion of what the subject could sell for. At Appraisal Express HI, LLC, we are experts when it comes to knowing the value of real estate features in Kihei and Maui County neighborhoods. This approach to value is typically given the most weight when an appraisal is for a real estate sale.

Valuation Using the Income Approach

A third way of valuing real estate is sometimes employed when a neighborhood has a reasonable number of rental properties. In this scenario, the amount of income the property generates is factored in with income produced by nearby properties to derive the current value.

Arriving at a Value Conclusion

Combining information from all applicable approaches, the appraiser is then ready to put down an estimated market value for the property at hand. 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 valueThere are always mitigating factors such as the seller's desire to get out of the property, urgency or 'bidding wars' that may adjust the final price up or down. Regardless, the appraised value is often 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 put the property on the market again. The bottom line is, an appraiser from Appraisal Express HI, LLC will guarantee you discover the most accurate property value, so you can make wise real estate decisions.