profile picture

What are the parts of an appraisal?

Getting a home can be the most significant transaction most people may ever consider. It doesn't matter if it's where you raise your family, a second vacation property or an investment, 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 quite familiar. The real estate agent is the most recognizable face in the transaction. Next, the bank provides the financial capital necessary to bankroll the deal. Ensuring all details of the transaction are completed and that a clear title transfers to the buyer from the seller is the title company.

So who makes sure the real estate is consistent with the purchase price?   This is where the appraiser comes in.   We provide an unbiased opinion of what a buyer might expect to pay - or a seller receive - for a property, where both buyer and seller are informed parties. A professional Virginia licensed appraiser from Benchmark Appraisal Services, Inc. will ensure you as an interested party are informed.

The inspection is where an appraisal starts

Our first task at Benchmark Appraisal Services, Inc. is to inspect the property to ascertain its true status. We must see aspects of the property hands on, such as the number of bedrooms and bathrooms, the location, and so on, to ensure they truly are there and are in the shape a typical buyer would expect them to be. To make sure the stated square footage is accurate and document the layout of the house, the inspection often requires creating a sketch of the floor plan. Most importantly, we look for any obvious features - or defects - that would affect the value of the house.

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

Cost Approach

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

Analyzing Comparable Sales

Appraisers can tell you a lot about the subdivisions in which they appraise. We thoroughly understand the value of certain features to the residents of that area. Then, the appraiser researches recent sales in the vicinity and finds properties which are 'comparable' to the property being appraised. By assigning a dollar value to certain items such as remodeled rooms, types of flooring, energy efficient items, patios and porches, or additional storage space, we add or subtract from each comparable's sales price so that they are more accurately in line with the features of subject property.

  • For example, if the comparable has an irrigation system and the subject doesn't, the appraiser may subtract the value of an irrigation system 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.
When it comes to associating a value with features of homes in Weems and Lancaster, Benchmark Appraisal Services, Inc. can't be beat. This approach to value is most often awarded the most importance when an appraisal is for a real estate purchase.

Valuation Using the Income Approach

A third method of valuing a house is sometimes used when a neighborhood has a reasonable number of renter occupied properties. In this case, the amount of revenue the real estate yields is factored in with income produced by neighboring properties to determine the current value.


Combining information from all approaches, the appraiser is then ready to document an estimated market value for the subject property. The estimate of value at the bottom of 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 market value Depending on the specific situations 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. But 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. The bottom line is: An appraiser from Benchmark Appraisal Services, Inc. will help you get the most accurate property value, so you can make profitable real estate decisions.