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Understanding Appraisals

Buying real estate can be the most significant financial decision many of us might ever encounter. It doesn't matter if it's where you raise your family, a seasonal vacation home or a rental fixer upper, the purchase of real property is a complex transaction that requires multiple people working in concert to make it all happen.

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

The majority of the parties participating are very familiar. The real estate agent is the most familiar face in the exchange. Then, the bank provides the financial capital necessary to fund the exchange. Ensuring all requirements of the transaction are completed and that a clear title passes from the seller to the purchaser is the title company.

So what party is responsible for making sure the value of the property is in line with the purchase price?   This is where the appraiser comes in.   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 professional New Jersey licensed appraiser from Stanley Jay Appraisal Associates will ensure you as an interested party are informed.

Appraisals start with the inspection

To ascertain an accurate status of the property, it's our responsibility to first perform a thorough inspection. We must see features 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 make sure the stated size of the property is accurate and convey the layout of the property, the inspection often requires creating a sketch of the floor plan. Most importantly, we look for any obvious amenities - or defects - that would have an impact on the value of the property.

Following the inspection, we use two or three approaches when determining the value of real property: a sales comparison, a replacement cost calculation, and an income approach when rental properties are prevalent.

Cost Approach

Here, the appraiser gathers information on local building costs, the cost of labor and other elements to calculate how much it would cost to replace the property being appraised. This estimate commonly sets the upper limit 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. We innately understand the value of particular features to the residents of that area. Then, the appraiser looks up recent sales in close proximity to the subject and finds properties which are 'comparable' to the subject at hand. Using knowledge of the value of certain items such as fireplaces, room layout, appliance upgrades, additional bathrooms or bedrooms, or quality of construction, we adjust the comparable properties so that they more accurately portray the features of subject property.

  • For example, if the comparable property 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 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.
At Stanley Jay Appraisal Associates, we are an authority when it comes to knowing the value of real estate features in Colonia and Middlesex County neighborhoods. The sales comparison approach to value is most often given the most weight when an appraisal is for a home exchange.

Valuation Using the Income Approach

A third method of valuing real estate is sometimes employed when an area has a reasonable number of rental properties. In this scenario, the amount of revenue the real estate generates is taken into consideration along with other rents in the area for comparable properties to determine the current value.

Coming Up With the Final Value

Analyzing the data from all approaches, the appraiser is then ready to state an estimated market value for the property in question. It is important to note that while this amount is probably the most accurate indication of what a house would sell for in an open market, it may not be the final sales price. There are always mitigating factors such as the seller's desire to get out of the property, urgency or 'bidding wars' that may adjust an offer or listing 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 would likely sell for in an open marketplace. Here's what it all boils down to: An appraiser from Stanley Jay Appraisal Associates will help you get the most accurate property value, so you can make profitable real estate decisions.