What Is an Appraisal?

A home purchase can be the most important financial decision some could ever make. Whether it's a main residence, a second vacation home or one of many rentals, purchasing real property is a detailed financial transaction that requires multiple people working in concert to pull it all off.

Most of the people participating are quite familiar. The real estate agent is the most familiar face in the exchange. Then, the mortgage company provides the money required to fund the transaction. The title company makes sure that all requirements of the sale are completed and that a clear title transfers to the buyer from the seller.

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 you meet 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 licensed, certified, professional appraiser from C. Gaba Appraisals, LLC will ensure, you as an interested party, are informed.

The inspection is where an appraisal begins

Our first responsibility at C. Gaba Appraisals, LLC is to inspect the property to ascertain its true status. We must physically view features, such as the number of bedrooms and bathrooms, the location, amenities, etc., to ensure they really exist and are in the condition a typical person would expect them to be. The inspection often includes a sketch of the property, ensuring the square footage is correct and conveying the layout of the property. Most importantly, the appraiser looks for any obvious amenities - or defects - that would have an impact on the value of the house.

Next, after the inspection, an appraiser uses two or three approaches to determining the value of the property: paired sales analysis and, in the case of a rental property, an income approach.

Cost Approach

Here, the appraiser pulls information on local construction costs, the cost of labor and other elements to ascertain how much it would cost to replace the property being appraised. This estimate often sets the upper limit on what a property would sell for. It's also the least used predictor of value.

Analyzing Comparable Sales

Appraisers can tell you a lot about the neighborhoods in which they appraise. They thoroughly understand the value of specific features to the homeowners of that area. Then, the appraiser looks up recent sales in close proximity to the subject and finds properties which are 'comparable' to the real estate 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 add or subtract from each comparable's sales price so that they are more accurately in line with the features of subject property.

  • If, for example, the comparable has a storm shelter and the subject does not, the appraiser may subtract the value of a storm shelter 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 a certain amount 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. When it comes to putting a value on features of homes in Mobile and Mobile, C. Gaba Appraisals, LLC is your local authority. The sales comparison approach to value is usually awarded the most consideration when an appraisal is for a real estate exchange.

Valuation Using the Income Approach

In the case of income producing properties - rental houses for example - the appraiser may use an additional method of valuing real estate. In this case, the amount of revenue the property generates is factored in with other rents in the area for comparable properties to determine the current value.

Arriving at a Value Conclusion

Combining information from all approaches, the appraiser is then ready to state an estimated market value for the property in question. The estimate of value on the appraisal report is not necessarily what's being paid for the property even though it is likely the best indication of a property's valueThere are always mitigating factors such as seller motivation, urgency or 'bidding wars' that may adjust the final price up or down. Regardless, the appraised value is typically used as a guideline for lenders who don't want to loan a buyer more money than they could recover in case they had to put the property on the market again. The bottom line is, an appraiser from C. Gaba Appraisals, LLC will help you attain the most accurate property value, so you can make profitable real estate decisions.