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Breaking Down the Appraisals

One's home purchase can be the largest investment some people may ever encounter. It doesn't matter if it's a primary residence, a seasonal vacation property or one of many rentals, the purchase of real property is a detailed financial transaction that requires multiple people working in concert to see it through.

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


It's likely you are familiar with the parties having a role in the transaction. The real estate agent is the most familiar person in the exchange. Then, the lender provides the money necessary to fund the deal. The title company makes sure that all areas of the sale are completed and that the title is clear to transfer from the seller to the purchaser.

So who's responsible for making sure the real estate is consistent with the purchase price?   In comes 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 professional New York certified appraiser from AC Appraisal International, Ltd. will ensure you as an interested party are informed.

Inspecting the subject property

Our first task at AC Appraisal International, Ltd. is to inspect the property to ascertain its true status. We must physically see features, such as the number of bedrooms and bathrooms, the location, and so on, to ensure they really exist and are in the shape a reasonable person would expect them to be. To make sure the stated square footage has not been misrepresented and illustrate the layout of the property, the inspection often includes creating a sketch of the floor plan. Most importantly, the appraiser identifies any obvious features - or defects - that would affect the value of the house.

Once the site has been inspected, we use two or three approaches when determining the value of the property: a sales comparison, a replacement cost calculation, and an income approach when rental properties are prevalent.

Replacement Cost

Here, we pull information on local construction costs, the cost of labor and other factors to derive how much it would cost to build a property similar to the one being appraised. This value usually sets the maximum on what a property would sell for. It's also the least used method.

Analyzing Comparable Sales

Appraisers become very familiar with the neighborhoods in which they appraise. We innately understand the value of certain features to the homeowners of that area. Then, the appraiser looks up recent transactions 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.

  • Say, for example, the comparable property has a fireplace and the subject doesn't, the appraiser may subtract the value of a fireplace from the sales price of the comparable.
  • 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.
The sales comparison approach to value is commonly awarded the most weight when an appraisal is for a real estate purchase.

Valuation Using the Income Approach

A third way of valuing real estate is sometimes used when a neighborhood has a measurable number of renter occupied properties. In this scenario, the amount of revenue the property produces is taken into consideration along with income produced by comparable properties to determine the current value.

Putting It All Together

Combining information from all approaches, the appraiser is then ready to stipulate 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 what a property could sell for in an open market. There are always mitigating factors such as seller motivation, urgency or 'bidding wars' that may adjust the final price up or down. But the appraised value is typically 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. At the end of the day: An appraiser from AC Appraisal International, Ltd. will help you get the most accurate property value, so you can make profitable real estate decisions.
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