What goes into an appraisal?


The Big Picture

  Acquiring or selling a house is the most significant financial decision many may ever encounter. Whether it's a primary residence, a second vacation property or an investment, the purchase of real property is a detailed transaction that requires multiple parties to make it all happen. 

You're probably familiar with the parties having a role in the transaction. The most known person in the transaction is the real estate agent. Next, the lender provides the financial capital required to fund the deal. Ensuring all details of the exchange are completed and that the title is clear to pass from the seller to the buyer is the title company.    

So what party is responsible for making sure the value of the real estate is consistent with the amount being paid? 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 professional New York licensed appraiser from Genesee Valley Appraisals will ensure you as an interested party are informed. 

The Steps of an Appraisal

Appraisals start with the home inspection


  Our first task at Genesee Valley Appraisals is to inspect the property to determine its true status. We must physically see aspects of the property, such as the number of bedrooms and bathrooms, the location, living areas, etc., to ensure they indeed exist and are in the condition a typical 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 includes creating a sketch of the floor plan. Most importantly, we identify any obvious amenities - or defects - that would affect the value of the property.   After the inspection, we use two or three approaches when determining the value of the property: paired sales analysis and, in the case of a rental property, an income approach.

Cost Approach


  This is where the appraiser uses information on local construction costs, labor rates and other elements to determine how much it would cost to replace the property being appraised. This value often sets the maximum on what a property would sell for. It's also the least used predictor of value.   

Analyzing Comparable Sales


  Appraisers become very familiar with the subdivisions in which they work. We thoroughly understand the value of certain features to the people of that area. Then, the appraiser looks up recent sales in the vicinity and finds properties which are 'comparable' to the property in question. By assigning a dollar value to certain items such as fireplaces, room layout, appliance upgrades, extra 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.    For example, if the comparable has a storm shelter and the subject doesn't, the appraiser may subtract the value of a storm shelter from the sales price of the comparable. But, 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. When it comes to knowing the true value of features of homes in Fairport and Monroe, Genesee Valley Appraisals can't be beat. The sales comparison approach to value is most often given the most weight when an appraisal is for a home purchase.   

Valuation Using the Income Approach


  A third way of valuing a house is sometimes used when an area has a measurable number of renter occupied properties. In this situation, the amount of revenue the property yields is taken into consideration along with income produced by comparable properties to determine the current value.  

The Bottom Line


  Examining the data from all approaches, the appraiser is then ready to stipulate an estimated market value for the property at hand. Note: While this amount is probably the most reliable indication of what a house would sell for in an open market, it probably will not be the price at which the property closes. It's not uncommon for prices to 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 the property would likely sell for in an open marketplace.

 The bottom line is: An appraiser from Genesee Valley Appraisals will guarantee you discover the most accurate property value, so you can make wise real estate decisions.

Ready for an Appraiser?


How do I get ready for the appraiser?

   The first step in most appraisals is the home inspection. During this process, the appraiser will come to your home and measure it, determine the layout of the rooms inside, confirm all aspects of the home's general condition, and take several photos of your house for inclusion in the report. The best thing you can do to help is make sure the appraiser has easy access to the exterior of the house. Trim any bushes and move any items that would make it difficult to measure the structure. On the inside, make sure that the appraiser can easily access items like furnaces and water heaters.   

The following Items, if available, will help your appraiser to provide a more accurate appraisal in a shorter period of time: 

  1. A survey of the house and property. 
  2. A deed or title report showing the legal description. 
  3. A recent tax bill. 
  4. A list of personal property to be sold with the house if applicable. 
  5. A copy of the original plans.
  6.  Written property agreements, such as a maintenance easement for a shared driveway.     
  7. Title policy that lists encroachments or easements.    
  8. Any inspection reports, or other recent reports for termites, EIFS (synthetic stucco) wall systems, your septic system and wells. 
  9. A list of any major home improvements and enhancements, the date of their installation and their cost (for example, the addition of central air conditioning or roof repairs) and permit confirmation (if available).  
  10. A copy of the current listing agreement with broker's data sheet and purchase agreement if a sale is "pending".
  11. Any "Homeowners Associations" agreements or, if applicable, condo agreements or fees.
  12. A list of "proposed" improvements if the property is to be appraised "as complete".   

When the appraiser has arrived, you do not need to accompany them along on the entire site inspection, but generally you'll want to be present to answer questions about your property and be willing to point out any home improvements.    

Accessibility: Appraisers are very thorough in their inspections. We recommend that all areas of the home are accessible, especially the attic and crawl space.   

Maintenance: We often suggest repairing minor things like leaky faucets, missing door handles and trim.   FHA and VA Inspection Items: In the case of your borrower trying to apply for either an FHA or VA loan, definitely ask your appraiser if there are extra things that should be done before they arrive. Some things they may recommend might be: having smoke detectors on all levels and especially near bedrooms, ensuring there are electrical receptacles in every room (note: GFI outlets are no longer required) and that each receptacle functions, eliminating pull-chain lights in areas other than the basement or attic. 

Ready to Order an Appraisal?

 We love our customers! We will guide you through the appraisal process! Please contact us via email or phone. 

Genesee Valley Appraisals

Littleton, Colorado, United States

585-622-2141 We have offices in Littleton, Colorado and Rochester, New York. Phone reaches both offices.


Monday - Friday: 9am - 5pm

Saturday: Closed

Sunday: Closed

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