What Is an Appraisal?

Their home's purchase can be the most significant transaction many could ever make. It doesn't matter if a main residence, a seasonal vacation property or an investment, purchasing real property is a complex financial transaction that requires multiple parties to pull it all off.

Practically all the participants are quite familiar. The most recognizable entity in the exchange is the real estate agent. Then, the lender provides the financial capital required to finance the transaction. And the title company makes sure that all aspects of the exchange are completed and that the title is clear to pass from the seller to the buyer.

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

So, who makes sure the value of the property is consistent with the purchase price? In comes the appraiser. We provide an unbiased opinion of what a buyer could expect to pay — or a seller receive — for a property, where both buyer and seller are informed parties. A licensed, certified, professional appraiser from BK Appraisal Services will ensure, you as an interested party, are informed.

Inspecting the subject property

Our first task at BK Appraisal Services is to inspect the property to ascertain its true status. We must see aspects of the property first hand, such as the number of bedrooms and bathrooms, the location, living areas, etc, to ensure they really exist and are in the shape a reasonable buyer would expect them to be. To ensure the stated square footage has not been misrepresented and describe the layout of the property, the inspection often entails creating a sketch of the floorplan. Most importantly, the appraiser identifies any obvious amenities - or defects - that would affect the value of the house.

Once the site has been inspected, 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 analyzes information on local building costs, the cost of labor and other elements to ascertain how much it would cost to build a property similar to the one being appraised. This figure often sets the upper limit on what a property would sell for. The cost approach is also the least used predictor of value.

Analyzing Comparable Sales

Appraisers get to know the subdivisions in which they work. They thoroughly understand the value of particular features to the people of that area. Then, the appraiser looks up recent transactions in the vicinity and finds properties which are 'comparable' to the property in question. By assigning a dollar value to certain items such as fireplaces, room layout, appliance upgrades, additional bathrooms or bedrooms, or quality of construction, 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 has an irrigation system and the subject does not, the appraiser may subtract the value of an irrigation system from the sales price of the comparable.
  • If the subject property has an extra half-bathroom and the comparable does not, the appraiser might add an amount to the comparable property.

A true estimate of what the subject could sell for can only be determined once all differences between the comps and the subject have been evaluated. When it comes to knowing the true worth of features of homes in Virginia Beach and Virginia Beach City, BK Appraisal Services can't be beat. This approach to value is usually given the most consideration when an appraisal is for a real estate purchase.

Valuation Using the Income Approach

In the case of income producing properties - rental houses for example - the appraiser may use an additional approach to value. In this case, the amount of income the property generates is factored in with income produced by neighboring properties to derive the current value.

Putting It All Together

Combining information from all approaches, the appraiser is then ready to document 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 used 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 BK Appraisal Services will help you attain the most fair and balanced property value, so you can make profitable real estate decisions.

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