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Comprehending Appraisals

Acquiring real estate is the biggest investment some people may ever make. Whether it's a primary residence, an additional vacation home or a rental fixer upper, the purchase of real property is a detailed financial transaction that requires multiple people working in concert to make it all happen.

The majority of the people participating are very familiar. The real estate agent is the most familiar entity in the exchange. Next, the mortgage company provides the financial capital required to fund the transaction. The title company makes sure that all aspects of the sale are completed and that the title is clear to pass 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 value of the real estate is in line with the amount being paid? This is where the appraiser comes in. We provide an unbiased opinion of what a buyer might 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 Frigoletto & Associates Inc. will ensure, you as an interested party, are informed.

Appraisals begin with the home inspection

Our first responsibility at Frigoletto & Associates Inc. is to inspect the property to determine its true status. We must actually see aspects of the property, such as the number of bedrooms and bathrooms, the location, and so on, to ensure they really are there and are in the condition a typical buyer would expect them to be. The inspection often includes a sketch of the property, ensuring the square footage is accurate and illustrating the layout of the property. Most importantly, we look for any obvious features - or defects - that would affect the value of the property.

Once the site has been inspected, 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.

Replacement Cost

This is where the appraiser pulls information on local building costs, labor rates and other factors to ascertain how much it would cost to replace the property being appraised. This figure often sets the maximum on what a property would sell for. The cost approach is also the least used method.

Paired Sales Analysis

Appraisers are intimately familiar with the neighborhoods in which they work. They thoroughly understand the value of particular 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 property 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 add or subtract from each comparable's sales price so that they more accurately portray the features of subject property.

  • For example, if the comparable property has a storm shelter and the subject does not, the appraiser may deduct 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.

In the end, the appraiser reconciles the adjusted sales prices of all the comps and then derives an opinion of what the subject could sell for. When it comes to putting a value on features of homes in Leominster and Worcester, Frigoletto & Associates Inc. is second to none. The sales comparison approach to value is typically awarded the most importance 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 - we may use a third approach to value. In this scenario, the amount of income the real estate generates is factored in with other rents in the area for comparable properties to give an indicator of the current value.

Arriving at a Value Conclusion

Combining information from all applicable approaches, the appraiser is then ready to state an estimated market value for the subject property. Note: While this amount is probably the most accurate indication of what a property is worth, it may not be the price at which the property closes. Prices can always be driven up or down by extenuating circumstances like the motivation or urgency of a seller or 'bidding wars'. But the appraised value is typically 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 sell the property again. The bottom line is, an appraiser from Frigoletto & Associates Inc. will guarantee you attain the most accurate property value, so you can make wise real estate decisions.