What Is an Appraisal?

Purchasing a home is the biggest financial decision some people might ever consider. Whether it's where you raise your family, a second vacation property or a rental fixer upper, purchasing real property is a detailed financial transaction that requires multiple parties to pull it all off.

The majority of the participants are quite familiar. The most familiar person in the transaction is the real estate agent. Next, the bank provides the financial capital necessary to finance the deal. And the title company makes sure that all aspects of the exchange are completed and that a clear title transfers from the seller to the purchaser.

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 value of the real estate is consistent with the amount being paid? This is where you meet the appraiser. We provide an unbiased estimate 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 Capuano Appraisal Services, LLC will ensure, you as an interested party, are informed.

Inspecting the subject property

Our first responsibility at Capuano Appraisal Services, LLC is to inspect the property to determine its true status. We must see aspects of the property hands on, such as the number of bedrooms and bathrooms, the location, living areas, etc, to ensure they indeed exist and are in the condition a reasonable buyer would expect them to be. To ensure the stated square footage is accurate and document the layout of the house, the inspection often includes creating a sketch of the floorplan. Most importantly, we look for any obvious amenities - 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 the property: sales comparison and, in the case of a rental property, an income approach.

Cost Approach

Here, the appraiser pulls information on local building costs, the cost of labor and other factors to ascertain how much it would cost to construct a property comparable to the one being appraised. This figure commonly sets the maximum on what a property would sell for. It's also the least used method.

Sales Comparison

Appraisers become very familiar with the communities in which they appraise. They thoroughly understand the value of particular features to the residents of that area. Then, the appraiser researches recent transactions in the area and finds properties which are 'comparable' to the home being appraised. By assigning a dollar value to certain items such as upgraded appliances, additional bathrooms, additional living area, quality of construction, lot size, we adjust the comparable properties so that they are more accurately in line with the features of subject.

  • If, for example, the comparable property has a storm shelter and the subject doesn't, the appraiser may deduct the value of a storm shelter from the sales price of the comparable home.
  • 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.

Once all necessary adjustments have been made, 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 valuing features of homes in Bristow and Prince William, Capuano Appraisal Services, LLC can't be beat. This approach to value is usually given the most weight when an appraisal is for a home sale.

Valuation Using the Income Approach

A third method of valuing a property is sometimes employed when a neighborhood has a reasonable number of renter occupied properties. In this case, the amount of income the property yields is taken into consideration along with income produced by comparable properties to derive the current value.

Putting It All Together

Analyzing the data from all approaches, the appraiser is then ready to stipulate an estimated market value for the subject property. The estimate of value on the appraisal report is not always what's being paid for the property even though it is likely the best indication of a property's valueDepending on the specific circumstances of the buyer or seller, their level of urgency or a buyer's desire for that exact property, the closing price of a home can always be driven 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 they could get back in case they had to sell the property again. The bottom line is, an appraiser from Capuano Appraisal Services, LLC will help you discover the most accurate property value, so you can make the most informed real estate decisions.