Decoding the Appraisal Process

Purchasing real estate can be the most important investment most people will ever encounter. It doesn't matter if a primary residence, a second vacation home or an investment, purchasing real property is an involved transaction that requires multiple parties to make it all happen.

You're probably familiar with the parties taking part in the transaction. The most known person in the exchange is the real estate agent. Then, the lender provides the money needed to bankroll the deal. And ensuring all areas of the sale are completed and that the title is clear to transfer from the seller to the buyer 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, who's responsible for making sure the real estate is worth 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 Genesis Appraisal Group will ensure, you as an interested party, are informed.

Appraisals begin with the property inspection

Our first responsibility at Genesis Appraisal Group 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, and so on, to ensure they truly are present and are in the condition a reasonable person would expect them to be. To make sure the stated size of the property 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 property.

Once the site has been inspected, we use two or three approaches to determining the value of real 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 construction costs, the cost of labor and other elements to determine how much it would cost to construct a property similar to the one being appraised. This figure usually sets the maximum on what a property would sell for. It's also the least used method.

Sales Comparison

Appraisers can tell you a lot about the subdivisions in which they work. They innately understand the value of particular features to the residents of that area. Then, the appraiser researches recent sales in the vicinity and finds properties which are 'comparable' to the home 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.

  • Say, for example, the comparable has an extra half bath that the subject doesn't, the appraiser may subtract the value of that half bath from the sales price of the comparable home.
  • 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.

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 associating a value with features of homes in Bend and Deschutes, Genesis Appraisal Group is second to none. This approach to value is most often given the most importance 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 - we may use a third method of valuing real estate. In this case, the amount of income the property produces is taken into consideration along 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 in question. Note: While this amount is probably the most accurate indication of what a house is worth, it probably will not be the final sales price. There 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 often employed as a guideline for lenders who don't want to loan a buyer more money than the property is actually worth. At the end of the day, an appraiser from Genesis Appraisal Group will help you get the most fair and balanced property value, so you can make profitable real estate decisions.